bind of a former colleague named
Mary, who retired in 1992 at age 63
after 40 years of teaching. (She asked
that her last name not be used.)
“Economically, the best day for
retired public employees is the day
they retire,” Ruane said.
Because Mary’s pension hasn’t
kept pace with inflation, she lives
on $2,108 a month after taxes. She
is not eligible for Social Security or
Medicare. Out of that modest income,
she has to pay 50 percent of the
premium for the same kind of health
insurance plan that is provided to
Giving retirees like Mary an extra
$90 a year by modestly improving the
COLA “is hardly too much to ask,”
Ruane said. Freezing their out-of-
pocket costs is also essential.
Retired Winchester teacher Stephen
Gorrie, a former MTA president,
described what happened to retirees
in Winchester in 2012 when the town
unilaterally decided to change the
health insurance premium split to 50/50.
Some saw their health insurance
premium costs increase sharply. In the
worst-case scenario, Gorrie explained,
“Those who retired before July 1,
2004, but were not Medicare-eligible
who were on a family plan had their
annual premium costs increased from
$6,410 to $11,050, or nearly $5,000.”
“At some point,” Gorrie continued,
“these retirees would have to decide
whether they maintain their health
insurance, keep their homes, or eat.”
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