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11 Feb
0

TRTA Readies for TRS-Care Town Hall Meeting Tomorrow

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is en route to Corpus Christi today to attend the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) board of trustees retreat. During the first day of the meeting which begins tomorrow, the TRS Board is hosting a Town Hall event that will allow TRS-Care participants to communicate their questions, concerns and suggestions about the health insurance program.

You may have read about this event last week. The feedback you and other TRS-Care participants provide during the TRS-Care Town Hall meeting will impact the TRS-Care sustainability study presently being conducted by TRS. This study, first conducted in 2012, is being updated for the Texas Legislature. TRS is tasked with finding solutions for maintaining this vital healthcare program and presenting viable solutions to the Legislature before the 84th Legislative Session begins in January 2015.

TRS-Care faces a funding shortfall that could reach or exceed $1 billion by the next legislative session. This crisis MUST be addressed, and your participation in this meeting is vital. TRS will also discuss TRS-ActiveCare for current public school employees during this meeting.

If you have not heard about this event until today, please add it to your calendar and plan to participate! The meeting begins at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow and may be viewed online. See details below!

Attend the Meeting In Person:
The meeting is being held at the Education Service Center, Region 2, Room 3-23, located at 209 N. Water St., Corpus Christi, Texas, 78401 on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. Here is a map of the meeting location: Education Service Center Map.

Watch the Meeting From Home:
For those of you who wish to watch the broadcast from your home computer, you can view the live webcast through the TRS website www.trs.state.tx.us.  The direct link (which will not be active until the meeting begins) is: trs.mediasite.com/mediasite/Play/3072175dfa5c4ab08b2a16333dba377a1d.

As the meeting is being broadcast, you can also send your questions by email using a special feature. This feature will not be available until the meeting has begun, and complete instructions for sending in your email during the live broadcast are available through TRS here: http://www.trs.state.tx.us/global.jsp?&page_id=/about/announcement_townhall_questions.

For those of you who use Twitter, you can even tweet your questions live by submitting them to the TRS Twitter account @TRSofTexas and using the hashtag #TRStownhall. Please be sure to watch the webcast for answers. Although not all questions will be answered due to time constraints, similar questions will be grouped and a thorough answer provided.

Watch the TRTA Facebook Page for Updates:
TRTA will post these same links again next week from our Facebook page. If you have a Facebook account, be sure to like our page today (https://www.facebook.com/pages/TRTA-Texas-Retired-Teachers-Association/126989714019649). TRTA provides frequent updates about issues pertaining to your retirement benefits as well as information about other pension plans across the nation.

Thank You!
We know many of our members are not able to travel to Corpus to participate in the meeting. Several of you have sent us emails this week telling us about your concerns and suggestions. Thank you for your feedback!

Please know that TRTA board members and staff will be present at the meeting to share the information you have provided for us. We have also sent your comments to TRS staff members.

We also want to thank TRS for providing the information included in this update, and for offering a variety of ways for retirees to participate in this vital discussion. The TRS Board is facing a difficult task in dealing with the TRS-Care funding crisis. With your feedback, they can better address an issue that affects more than 200,000 retirees. Please don’t hesitate to use the online features provided TRS during tomorrow’s event!

Thank you for being a member of TRTA. If you are not a member and are interested in becoming one, please contact our Membership Department at 1.800.880.1650.

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05 Feb
0

TRS-Care Town Hall Meeting: How You Can Participate

Earlier this week, the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) sent out an Inside Line about next week’s Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees meeting. During the first day of the meeting, the TRS Board is hosting a Town Hall event that will allow TRS-Care participants to communicate their questions, concerns and suggestions about the health insurance program.

As we mentioned in our update, this Town Hall event is very significant. The feedback you and other TRS-Care participants provide will impact the TRS-Care sustainability study presently being conducted by TRS. This sustainability study, first conducted in 2012, is being updated for the Texas Legislature. TRS is tasked with finding solutions for maintaining this vital healthcare program and presenting viable solutions to the Legislature before the 84th Legislative Session begins in January 2015.

TRS-Care faces a funding shortfall that could reach or exceed $1 billion by the next legislative session. This crisis MUST be addressed, and your participation in this meeting is vital. TRS will also discuss TRS-ActiveCare for current public school employees during this meeting.

In Person:
The meeting is being held at the Education Service Center, Region 2, Room 3-23, located at 209 N. Water St., Corpus Christi, Texas, 78401 on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. If you are able to attend in person, please do so! Here is a map of the meeting location: Education Service Center Map.

Contact Us Before the Meeting With Your Questions, Concerns, and Suggestions:
We know many of our members are not able to travel to Corpus to participate in the meeting. Several of you have sent us emails this week telling us about your concerns and suggestions. Please know that TRTA board members and staff will be present at the meeting to share the information you have provided for us.

You can still send an email to info@trta.org with the subject line “TRS-Care” to give us your feedback! As we mentioned earlier this week, TRS will review ALL options when conducting their study: increased revenues, increased retiree premiums, benefit reductions, or a combination of factors. Let us know what avenues you think TRS should pursue and why, and what avenues you as a plan participant are able or not able to follow and why.

Watch the Meeting From Home:
For those of you who wish to watch the meeting broadcast from your home computer, you can view the live webcast through the TRS website www.trs.state.tx.us.  The direct link (which will not be active until the meeting begins) is: trs.mediasite.com/mediasite/Play/3072175dfa5c4ab08b2a16333dba377a1d.

As the meeting is being broadcast, you can also send your questions by email using a special feature. This feature will not be available until the meeting has begun, and complete instructions for sending in your email during the live broadcast are available through TRS here: http://www.trs.state.tx.us/global.jsp?&page_id=/about/announcement_townhall_questions.

For those of you who use Twitter, you can even tweet your questions live by submitting them to the TRS Twitter account @TRSofTexas and using the hashtag #TRStownhall. Please be sure to watch the webcast for answers. Although not all questions will be answered due to time constraints, similar questions will be grouped and a thorough answer provided.

Watch the TRTA Facebook Page for Updates:
TRTA will post these same links again next week from our Facebook page. If you have a Facebook account, be sure to like our page today (https://www.facebook.com/pages/TRTA-Texas-Retired-Teachers-Association/126989714019649). TRTA provides frequent updates about issues pertaining to your retirement benefits as well as information about other pension plans across the nation.

Thank You!
A huge thanks to TRS for providing the information included in this update. The TRS Board is facing a difficult task in dealing with the TRS-Care funding crisis. With your feedback, they can better address an issue that affects more than 200,000 retirees.

Members, please add the TRS-Care Town Hall meeting to your schedule NOW! (February 12, 2014 1:00 p.m.)

Thank you for being a member of TRTA. If you are not a member and are interested in becoming one, please contact our Membership Department at 1.800.880.1650.

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03 Feb
0

TRTA Prepares for TRS-Care Billion Dollar Funding Crisis

TRS RAC and TRS Board Meetings Offer Insight and Opportunity for Feedback

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) will host its TRS-Care Retiree Advisory Committee (RAC) today (February 3). This group of retired and active school employees receives information about the condition of the TRS-Care plan and provides feedback to TRS about member sentiment and involvement.

Today’s TRS RAC meeting is the first step in a long progression of actions that will lead up to the next legislative session. The importance of TRS-Care in the next legislative session cannot be understated.

TRTA will be in attendance for this important meeting and will provide feedback to our members. We expect to hear updates about the condition of the TRS-Care plan, as well as information from TRS staff about how the TRS Board will respond to retiree input over the coming months.

One of the first opportunities for public feedback on the impending TRS-Care funding crisis will be at next week’s TRS Board of Trustees meeting.

TRS Board Retreat Set for Next Week

Next week’s meeting of the Board of Trustees for the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) will take place in Corpus Christi February 12-14. TRTA staff and board officers will be in attendance. The meeting will be broadcast live via webcast and TRTA will provide a link on its Facebook page.

The meeting will include a Town Hall event on February 12 during which the TRS Board will invite comments, questions and suggestions from those in attendance and those who send emails about the TRS-Care health insurance program.

Members, please be aware that this discussion is one of vital importance. If you are a TRS retiree or you will be, and you participate or plan to participate in this retiree health insurance program, we need your help.

The health care plan will have a serious funding shortfall in the coming legislative session, to the tune of $1 billion! We know the crisis is coming. We have 2014 to rally every TRS retiree and future retiree together to help maintain this vital health care coverage.

The TRS Board meeting presents a chance for our voices to be heard as the board considers various options for maintaining the plan. This sustainability study will provide the Texas Legislature with feedback that will impact how your insurance plan will change in the near future.

In November, we learned from TRS that TRS-Care will need reform, possibly in the form of increased revenues, increased retiree premiums, benefit reductions, or a combination of factors. Right now, retiree premiums account for 34.2% of the cost of TRS-Care. Contributions from the state account for 23.2%.

Many of our members ask why TRS-Care is experiencing significant financial issues. Although the new Aetna Medicare Advantage plan introduced in 2013 created some cost savings for TRS-Care, it has not been enough to overcome the cost drivers of the plan. The most significant cost driver of TRS-Care is the non-Medicare eligible category of participants. The cost for those participants is about 12 times as much as Medicare participants. Other drivers include increased prescription and medical costs, as well as increased utilization of the plans due to aging population.

The Medicare Advantage plan has about 70% of those eligible to participate using the plan, which is about 80,000 people. Participation in the Medicare Part D prescription plan is at about 83%.

What can you do to help?

You can help TRTA by emailing us your questions, concerns and suggestions about TRS-Care. Send an email to info@trta.org with the subject line “TRS-Care” and give us your feedback! As we mentioned above, TRS will review ALL options when conducting their study: increased revenues, increased retiree premiums, benefit reductions, or a combination of factors. Let us know what avenues you think TRS should pursue and why, and what avenues you as a plan participant are able or not able to follow and why.

Don’t forget to watch the TRS Board meeting live online next week! TRTA will provide a link to the live broadcast from its Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/TRTA-Texas-Retired-Teachers-Association/126989714019649). If you do not follow our Facebook page already, please do so! TRTA provides frequent updates about issues pertaining to your retirement benefits as well as information about other pension plans across the nation.

Thank you for being a member of TRTA. If you are not a member and are interested in becoming one, please contact our Membership Department at 1.800.880.1650.

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