The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) decided to switch health care providers for both TRS-Care and TRS-Care Medicare Advantage during its recent Board of Trustees meeting. The new Medicare Advantage provider is United Healthcare, which serves retirees over the age of 65. The new TRS-Care Standard provider is BlueCross BlueShield, which serves retirees under the age of 65.

Many retirees have had questions regarding the change. Specifically, retirees want to know what effect the change will have on the provider network. Retirees in the Houston area have inquired about the status of the Houston Methodist hospital.

TRS announced today that Houston Methodist will continue to service Medicare Advantage participants.

TRS has also released FAQ pages on the transition for both Medicare Advantage and TRS-Care Standard.The change to the new health care providers will take place on Jan. 1, 2021. TRS is reporting this switch to the new providers is expected to save the health care fund more than $754 million over the next three to five years. The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is very interested to learn more about how these provider changes will “save” money and what the expectations for those “savings” may be.

TRTA is fielding questions from its membership and funneling them through TRS. There are still many unanswered questions, and we will be trying to get answers to our membership as soon as possible. When TRS announced its decision to transition to the new providers, it was announced that there would be a robust communications campaign. The campaign will include in-person meetings across the state beginning in Sept. 2020.