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Senior Star 1st Quarter 2012

Providence, RI, Mayor Asks City Retirees to Accept Reduced Pensions and Less Generous Health Care Coverage
“During a sometimes tense meeting at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston, the mayor asked Providence’s 4,300 retirees to accept three changes: the suspension of future pension cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) until the system gets from its 32% funded level to 70%; a 20% health insurance co-share for retirees under the age of 65; and a transition to Medicare with a supplemental plan for those 65 and older.” (


States Facing 96% Unfunded Retiree Health Care Benefits
“States haven’t financed almost 96 percent of the $627.4 bil.lion they were projected to owe for future retiree benefits in 2010, according to Bloomberg Rankings data. The estimated deficit grew from about 95 percent in 2009 as governors coped with lower general-fund revenue and rising demand for services following the longest recession since the Great Depression.” (Bloomberg)


West Virginia Reins in Public Retiree Health Benefit Costs

“West Virginia is already reaping benefits from recent efforts to rein in public retiree health benefit costs, officials say: They expect to shrink the projected funding shortfall further, by more than $1 bil.lion, and a Wall Street credit rating agency appears ready to praise the state’s handling of its last major liability.” (The Herald-Dispatch)


Employees Cannot Opt Out of Medicare Part A Without Also Rejecting Social Security Benefits, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Rules
“Several employees, who were receiving Social Security benefits, sued on the grounds that they suffered harm due to the Medicare Part A coverage because private insurers reduce the benefits they can receive once they become covered by Medicare Part A. They said they wanted to receive the benefits they would be entitled to under their employer’s group health plan.” (HighRoads)


A New Set of Best Practices for ‘Other Post-Employment Benefits’
“Fortunately, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) has stepped up to the plate with a new guidance document providing best practices to public employers seeking to establish an OPEB trust. This primer covers the basic questions that most public officials and managers will face, outlines the basic legal options and pitfalls, explains in simple terms the paths available and the pros and cons of each, and directs readers to literature in the field to help support sound decisionmaking. Any finance officer can start with this roadmap and easily chart a course to implement a trust within six months.” (Governing)