The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees is holding meetings today and tomorrow. The board was considering increasing premiums to non-Medicare retirees by $50 per month.
However, TRS Executive Director Brian Guthrie has stated that the staff recommendation is to not increase these monthly premiums. Since the benefits committee didn’t act on the proposal to increase premiums, the board won’t increase or change the benefits structure.
Guthrie updated the Benefits Committee on the improved status of TRS-Care. He said that the fund is facing a $238 million budget shortfall. This figure is on the smaller side of previously projected ranges, which were between $400-$600 million.
As a result of the lower figure, and letters from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Sen. Joan Huffman (R – Houston), as well as support from Sen. Jane Nelson (R – Flower Mound), Guthrie stated that the perceived legislative intent was to help fill the shortfall during the upcoming legislative session.
“Now that the projections are significantly better this year than they were last year… we received feedback that the legislative intent has changed,” Guthrie said. “We trust the legislative process.”
Guthrie attributed the improved number to contract negotiations. TRS-Care also received additional federal reimbursements this year. TRS released the following statement on the issue:
“While working on plan year 2019 contract negotiations with Humana, the current third-party administrator of TRS-Care Medicare Advantage; TRS got an improved rate from Humana – TRS’ risk group resulted in enhanced revenue from CMS to Humana, thus allowing TRS to reduce the rate it pays Humana.”
If the Legislature doesn’t make any changes to TRS-Care funding, it’s likely that TRS will increase premiums, or make other benefit changes, during a board meeting following the legislative session.
The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) will continue to keep its members informed about the nature of the TRS-Care budget shortfall. Stay tuned to the Inside Line for continued updates on this issue.