In preparation for the 2015 Texas Legislature, we gathered the most knowledgeable legislative minds within the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) to discuss TRTA’s goals. The following conversation is an extensive look into the issues surrounding TRS-Care. The 84th Texas Legislature convenes Jan. 13 at noon.
The video is a half-hour long, so if you would like to skip to any part of the video please select the links below. Also, please be sure to share this with your fellow retired educators!
The video interview features TRTA Executive Director Tim Lee, TRTA Retirement Consultant Ronnie Jung, and TRTA Legislative Coordinator Bill Barnes.
During the interview, Tim Lee stressed the need for the Texas Legislature to address the TRS-Care funding shortfall.
“We have to protect our defined benefit plan. We have to protect what we’ve already achieved in previous sessions, and work with the Legislature (to) come up with a real solution for the health insurance program,” Lee said.
The real solution Lee referred to will extend beyond the supplemental funding necessary to keep TRS-Care going, according to Ronnie Jung. Jung explained the core issue surrounding TRS-Care funding is the structure on which the health care system is built.
“The problem we have is that the funding structure, which is a percentage of payroll, is not tied to the fact that we have more retirees and more health care costs,” Jung said.
Bill Barnes discussed his experiences in talking with TRTA members about the impending budget shortfall, and how an increase in medical premiums would have a negative impact on the lives of those dependent on TRS-Care. Barnes, who was encouraged by the 2013 Legislature passing a cost-of-living increase for retired teachers, said while retirees may not have control over prescription drug costs, it is possible to make an impact on TRS-Care by contacting legislators.
Tim Lee echoed this sentiment and encouraged all viewers to complete the letter in the latest edition The VOICE. You can download and print a copy of the letter here.
Please be sure to stay tuned into the Inside Line throughout the 84th Legislative Session, as we will be bringing you all the latest updates on bills concerning TRS-Care and the continued funding of the TRS pension trust fund.
Thank you for your membership in the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA).