Blog

01 Oct
0

TRTA Partners with Aetna to Offer Discounted Health Coverage Products

UPDATE: The link to the Aetna website is live at: www.healthspire.com/trta

As members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) know, the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program is changing in 2018. You may have many questions about these changes, and it is important that you understand how your health care coverage will be affected.

For the past several months, TRTA has heard from members that the cost of coverage, especially for spouses, may be difficult to afford for some participants in TRS-Care when changes go into effect in January 2018. Many of our members who are Medicare A and B eligible have asked TRTA to search for dependable health care alternatives that can be trusted.

TRTA has heard this plea, and is now partnering with Aetna to provide solutions should TRS-Care no longer be an option for you. TRTA is pleased to announce that Aetna is offering a suite of products endorsed by the TRTA Board of Directors and designed to meet a variety of health care needs.

The products being offered are for retirees and dependents age 65 or older who are Medicare A and B eligible. These products are discounted for members of TRTA.

Aetna, a company that has worked with the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) in the past as a provider for TRS-Care products, has coordinated with TRTA and TRS to come up with the best possible options for public education retirees. Aetna has worked diligently to address needs for retirees living on fixed incomes and has introduced special rates because of their relationship with TRTA.

Please know that the Aetna programs being endorsed by TRTA are not part of TRS or the TRS-Care program. While TRTA is endorsing the Aetna plans as a possible alternative for members whose needs may be benefited, any decision to leave TRS-Care is one that should be made with education, review, and caution.

TRTA feels comfortable that Aetna will assist our members in making an educated decision, even if that decision is to stay with TRS-Care. As always, TRTA recommends careful review of any health care options, as a decision to leave TRS-Care could mean you may not be able to return to the program in the future.

Even if you or your spouse has considered leaving the TRS-Care program, please know that TRS-Care may still be the best option. We encourage you to communicate with TRS about any decisions you make regarding your health insurance coverage. Please be aware that if you leave TRS-Care, you will not be able to re-enter the program if you are already age 65 or older unless you have a special enrollment event, which is rare.

TRTA also urges caution for the next several months, as many retirees may be contacted by a variety of insurance companies in the individual market offering health care options. TRS-Care participants are part of a group plan, and the recent changes made to the TRS-Care program have prompted insurance companies to begin offering numerous alternative health options for retirees.

Understandably, choosing insurance products can be an overwhelming experience! TRTA cannot say whether or not one insurance product will work better for you and your spouse than another. TRTA’s coordination with TRS and Aetna, however, ensures that you will be communicating with representatives who are familiar with your current TRS-Care coverage and can answer your questions effectively.

How to Learn More

  • Beginning October 3, 2017, you may visit the Aetna/TRTA offerings website online at www.healthspire.com/TRTA. (Please note, this website will not be live until Tuesday, October 3).
  • This offering is available for TRTA members only. If you need to check or update your membership please call TRTA at 1.800.880.1650.
  • Beginning October 5, 2017, you may call 1.888.299.0919 (TTY: 711) between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday to speak to a health plan expert who can guide you through your choices between the TRS plan or an Aetna plan.
  • If you decide to opt out of TRS-Care retiree health insurance benefits, you will still need to inform TRS by calling 1.888.237.6762.

Thank You

Thank you for your membership to TRTA. If you know a retiree who is not yet a member of TRTA, please encourage them to join.

Be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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26 Sep
0

TRTA Remembers Dr. Kenneth Laycock

Dr. Kenneth Laycock served as the Texas Retired Teachers Association’s (TRTA) President from 1998-2000. He was also a founding member and President of the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF). He passed away on Sept. 13, 2017 at the age of 90 after a battle with cancer.

Dr. Laycock was a highly influential and important contributor in TRTA’s history, and his work with and for retirees will not be forgotten. He was a driving force behind the creation of TRTF, and without his efforts, TRTA would likely not have the building in which it currently resides.

His funeral was held on Sept. 23 at the Shamrock Texas Cemetery. A memorial reception will be held in Dallas on Oct. 1 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM at the Edgemere Retirement Community. In lieu of flowers, his family requests memorials be made to the Highland Park Education Foundation to support teachers in the district attended by all five of his grandchildren, the Edgemere Retirement Community Foundation, the American Cancer Society or to the charity of your choice.

As President, Dr. Laycock emphasized increasing TRTA membership, and he helped ensure retired Texas educators would receive the health care and pension benefits related to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) catch-up. The final approval of the fourth part of the CPI catch-up came in 1999 during Dr. Laycock’s presidency.

He was the chairman of the Building Review Committee that finalized the recommendation for the construction of TRTA’s building in downtown Austin. In 1999, the TRTF Board of Trustees began seeking proposals from groups interested in construction of the new TRTA building, now located only few steps from the Texas Capitol.

Dr. Laycock inspired the creation of TRTF. His vision was to create a charitable organization with the sole purpose of working and providing resources for educators. Today, TRTA provides grants and scholarships to educators of the past, present, and future.

TRTA is a better organization thanks to Dr. Laycock’s contributions, and every retiree who is receiving an annuity from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) has benefited from the CPI catch-up.

We are thankful for the countless hours of hard work Dr. Laycock put into working for this organization, and his presence will be greatly missed.

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12 Sep
0

TRTF Disaster Relief Fund Raises More than $100,000! Hurricane Harvey Grants Now Available

As members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) know, TRTA’s charitable partner organization, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) has been raising funds to provide financial assistance for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

TRTF is pleased to announce that thanks to the overwhelming outpour of generosity from TRTA members, friends and supporters, we have raised more than $120,000 so far!

The TRTF Board of Trustees is so very thankful for your support. As a result of receiving these donations, TRTF has been able to set up a Disaster Relief Fund and already has been disbursing financial assistance to retired and active educators in the affected counties.

How to Donate

TRTF is still accepting donations for the Disaster Relief Fund and will continue helping as many people as possible until all funds are expended. PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

To donate online, please click here. You may also mail in your donation to: TRTF, 313 E. 12th Street Suite 220, Austin, TX 78701.

How to Request Assistance

TRTF is offering two methods for applicants requesting assistance. Please share this information with retirees and active educators you know who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. Please also share this information at your local unit meetings this fall! You can learn more on the TRTF website by clicking here.

  1. Disaster Relief Fund: Short-Term Assistance

For immediate, short-term needs, Hurricane Harvey victims may request direct financial assistance from the Disaster Relief Fund. Grants in the amount of $250 will be approved for members of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS), including retirees and current active school personnel, until all funds are expended. Funds will be sent to the recipient in the form of a check, and may be used for whatever emergency needs the recipient sees fit, such as purchasing groceries, water, gasoline or paying for hotel stays.

To request an application, please click here. Please note proof of income or employment is required to verify TRS membership; however, income will not be considered as a factor when approving grants.

  1. Disaster Relief Fund: Long-Term Assistance

Donors familiar with our emergency assistance program, “A Helping Hand,” know that the program provides grants on behalf of recipients for items such as home and vehicle repairs, medical and dental bills, hearing aids, and many other emergency needs. Through this program, TRTF pays vendors on behalf of aid recipients, usually up to $1,000, or more in exceptional cases. Similarly, the long-term assistance request through the TRTF Disaster Relief Fund will require that the recipient have access to their home in order to take photos of damage, and also requires that a bill or bid from a vendor be included (or a copy of the insurance policy demonstrating the cost of the deductible to be met). Similarly, funds will be disbursed to the vendor, not the grant seeker. TRTF will be able to offer long-term assistance for Hurricane Harvey victims through the Disaster Relief Fund until all funds are expended. To request an application, please click here.

For questions about the TRTF Disaster Relief Fund, please send an email to help@trtf.org and be sure to include your contact information.

How to Apply for Assistance from FEMA

If damage to your home or vehicle is extensive, please be sure to apply for federal aid through FEMA. The quickest way to receive FEMA assistance is to register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. If you don’t have Internet access, you may register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Thank You

Thank you for your membership to TRTA. If you know a retiree who is not yet a member of TRTA, please encourage them to join.

Be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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