Starting Sept. 1, TRS-Care participants will begin paying increased deductibles and out-of-pocket limits. These changes were approved by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) to the health care program in a June 16 Board meeting.
TRS-Care serves more than 250,000 retired educators, but its funding has been at a critically low level. Without the assurance that the health care plan would remain solvent through Aug. 2017, the TRS Board of Trustees made changes to save TRS-Care money.
TRS began detailing these changes to members in its recently released August newsletter. The changes to deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums are the first of several changes, which are projected to save the program close to $40 million.
Starting Jan. 1, 2017, the prescription drug plan for Medicare eligible participants will be the Express Scripts Medicare Part D plan. Additionally, a $10 convenience fee will be charged to members after the first fill for maintenance drugs dispensed at retail pharmacies.
Another significant change occurring in January will be a switch to Humana for all Medicare Advantage plans through TRS-Care. To find out if your provider accepts to Humana, please call 1-800-320-9566. The 2017 benefits and premiums for Medicare Advantage plans will stay the same as they were in 2016.
TRS also briefly discussed some of these changes in the latest edition of TRS Today.
These changes are the first of many that could occur for TRS-Care unless it receives a significant funding overhaul from the Texas Legislature in 2017. TRS-Care is expected to face a $1.5 billion funding shortfall, and the only way the program can continue to provide affordable, quality health care services is from a commitment by the Texas Legislature to its retired state educators.
TRTA needs your help to ensure the future of this vital health care program. For many participants, increasing health care costs are a life and death issue.
How you can help:
- Encourage your friends, family and co-workers to join and renew with TRTA.
- Attend TRTA local unit meetings.
- Establish a relationship with your Texas Legislators, and be prepared to vote in the General Election.
- Stay alert to TRTA Inside Line updates, and be ready for calls to action.
- Read our issues of The VOICE.
Thank you for your support of TRTA. We are committed to getting you all the information you need to know about changes to TRS-Care, and we are prepared to fight for your benefits in the Texas Capitol!