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30 Aug
0

TRS Board to Meet Friday, TRTF Receives Thousands in Donations for Hurricane Victims

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) has reported on several resources available to public education retirees in Texas as they grapple with the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.

Unfortunately, an error was made when reporting information about prescriptions for participants in the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) health care plans. The phone number listed for Express Scripts was missing a digit. Below please find the correct phone numbers for pharmacy benefit providers of TRS health care plans.

  • Active employees: CVS Caremark 1-800-222-9205
  • Retirees: Express Scripts 1-877-680-4881

As a reminder, both CVS Caremark and Express Scripts have activated processes that allow one-time emergency refills of medications for plan participants in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

We also want to share a resource for affected members who need to file insurance claims as a result of the storm: http://www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/storms/helpafterharvey.html. The information about whether or not to begin the process of filing insurance claims before or after Sept. 1, 2017 has been conflicting. A new state law, HB 1774, may make it more difficult to file lawsuits against insurance companies, and that law will go into effect Sept. 1, 2017.

TRS Board to Meet Friday, September 1 at 9:00 a.m.

The TRS Board of Trustees will hold a meeting this Friday, Sept. 1 to discuss implementing the changes made by the Texas Legislature to the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program. It is expected that the Board will approve the changes as recommended by the Legislature.

As our members may recall, as a result of additional funding being provided by the Legislature during the recent summer special session, deductibles and premiums for retirees in the TRS-Care plans will be reduced from the amounts approved during the regular legislative session. You can read about the projected changes by clicking here.

A link to view the meeting online via webcast will become available on this webpageon Friday morning at approximately 9:00 a.m. You can view the meeting book online here. TRTA will provide a thorough update to members after the board meeting.

TRS has also provided TRTA with the list of approved generic drugs that will be covered under the TRS-Care high deductible health care plan for retirees under the age of 65. You can view that list by clicking here.

TRTF Raises Nearly $4,000 for Hurricane Victims

The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF), the charitable arm of TRTA, is grateful to the many members and friends who have donated to help provide immediate and long-term financial assistance to public education retirees and active educators impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Because of your generosity, TRTF already has raised nearly $4,000!

As a result of this catastrophic storm, many TRS annuitants will experience significant damage to their homes and vehicles and may even struggle to meet daily needs. Teachers may be starting the school year without classroom supplies for their students or may have lost valuable education resources.

TRTF is asking members to please consider making a donation to the Foundation. Your donation could help provide someone in need with food and water, pay for a hotel stay, assist with paying for homeowner’s insurance deductibles, or repair damage to homes, vehicles, or classrooms.

To make a donation online, please click here. Donations can also be mailed to TRTF, 313 E. 12th Street Ste. 220, Austin, TX 78701. Your unrestricted donation means TRTF can direct the funds to go where they will do the most good and meet the most need.

If you or someone you know is in need of emergency financial assistance as a result of Hurricane Harvey, please send your request to help@trtf.org or call 1.800.880.1650 and leave your name and mailing address with Associate Director Cindee Sharp.

If you know friends or family who may be interested in donating to TRTF to help educators, please forward this email to them. TRTF will focus relief efforts on retired and active school employees and the public education community.

Thank you again for your heartfelt and quick response to our call for donations.

Thank You

Thank you for your membership to TRTA. Our hearts go out to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

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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28 Aug
0

Hurricane Harvey Resources for TRTA Members

Members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) are aware of Hurricane Harvey’s shocking and pervasive effects, as the storm ravaged the Texas coast over the weekend and caused significant flooding and damage to inland cities as well.

While we do not have any information on how TRTA have been affected by the storm so far, TRTA wants to remind members of valuable resources and aid that may be available to them.

Texas Retired Teachers Foundation

Many of our members already know about TRTA’s charitable partner organization, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF).

In 2013, after an explosion damaged homes, schools, and vehicles in West, Texas, TRTA members came together to donate more than $41,000 to TRTF to provide emergency assistance to retirees and pre-retirees through the well-known “A Helping Hand” program. The program provides grants to retirees and pre-retirees who are eligible to receive an annuity from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS).

Now, with Hurricane Harvey’s devastation, many TRS annuitants will experience significant damage to their homes and vehicles and may even be struggling to meet daily needs. Teachers in affected areas may be starting the school year without classroom supplies for their students or may have lost valuable education resources.

TRTF is asking members to please consider making a donation to the Foundation to help us provide assistance to educators for both immediate and long-term financial needs as a result of this catastrophic storm. Your donation could help provide someone in need with food and water, pay for a hotel stay, assist with paying for homeowner’s insurance deductibles, or repair damage to homes, vehicles, or classrooms.

To make a donation online, please click here. Donations can also be mailed to TRTF, 313 E. 12th Street Ste. 220, Austin, TX 78701. Your unrestricted donation means TRTF can direct the funds to go where they will do the most good and meet the most need.

If you or someone you know is in need of emergency financial assistance as a result of Hurricane Harvey, please send your request to help@trtf.org or call 1.800.880.1650 and leave your name and mailing address with Associate Director Cindee Sharp.

If you know friends or family who may be interested in donating to TRTF to help educators, please forward this email to them. TRTF will focus relief efforts on retired and active school employees and the public education community.

Prescriptions through TRS

Members impacted by Hurricane Harvey may be able to fill their prescriptions early through CVS Caremark and Express Scripts. Both CVS Caremark and Express Scripts have activated processes that allow one-time emergency refills of medications for plan participants in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

If you’re in an affected area, and you have questions about how to access prescriptions, please contact your pharmacy benefit manager:

  • Active employees: CVS Caremark 1-800-222-9205
  • Retirees: Express Scripts 1-877-680-4881

Federal Assistance Resources

Many counties in the path of Hurricane Harvey have been declared disaster areas, allowing residents to qualify for federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Governor Greg Abbott has added 54 counties to his state disaster declaration.

The quickest way to receive FEMA assistance is to register online at www.DisasterAssistance.com. 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. Our hearts go out to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

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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15 Aug
0

Texas House Passes $212 Million in Funding for TRS-Care, Sends Bill to Governor

The Texas House and Senate came to an agreement on funding TRS-Care and have passed HB 21. HB 21 will provide $212 million towards TRS-Care, the state-run retiree health insurance program.

The funding will help retirees who are both pre-65 and over-65. Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign this bill into law.

***All numbers represented in this chart are subject to change. The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) will confirm the final numbers.***

Non-Medicare Retirees:

Reduced deductibles. (Total cost: $115 million)

  • Previously: $3,000 deductible for individuals and $6,000 for families.
  • Now: $1,500 deductible for individuals and $3,000 for families.

Reduced maximum out-of-pocket costs. (Total cost: $18.7 million)

  • Previously: $6,650 MOOP for individuals and $13,300 for families.
  • Now: $5,650 MOOP for individuals and $11,300 for families.

Reduced premiums.

  • Previously: $433/month for non-Medicare retirees with child(ren).
  • Now: $408/month for non-Medicare retirees with child(ren).
  • Previously: $739/month for non-Medicare retirees and spouse.
  • Now: $689/month for non-Medicare retirees and spouse.
  • Previously: $1,074 /month for non-Medicare retirees with family.
  • Now: $999 /month for non-Medicare retirees with family.
  • Same: $200 /month for non-Medicare individuals.

Medicare Retirees:

Reduced premiums. (Total cost: $35.5 million)

  • Previously: $146/month for Medicare retirees.
  • Now: $135/month for Medicare retirees.
  • Previously: $590/month for Medicare retirees with a spouse.
  • Now: $529/month for Medicare retirees with a spouse.
  • Previously: $504/month for Medicare retirees with child(ren).
  • Now: $468/month for Medicare retirees with child(ren).
  • Previously: $1,106/month for Medicare retirees with family.
  • Now: $1,020/month for Medicare retirees with family.

Retirees With Disabled Family Members:

Reduced premiums. (Total cost: $2.7 million)

  • Previously: $433/month for non-Medicare retirees with disabled child(ren).
  • Now: $208/month for non-Medicare retirees with disabled child(ren).
  • Previously: $504/month for Medicare retirees with disabled child(ren).
  • Now: $268/month for Medicare retirees with disabled child(ren).

Ultimately, the House decided to use the Senate’s method of finance for TRS-Care.  Texas will defer payment to managed care organizations to fund this bill.

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) will have more details in the coming days about these changes and how they will impact you.

Thank You

Thank you for the thousands of emails, letters and phone calls you sent to the Senate, House and Governor’s office throughout the regular and special session.

The Texas Legislature heard retirees’ voices loud and clear when members returned for the special session.

The fight for funding will only continue on into the next Legislative session in 2019, as TRS-Care will likely undergo another budget shortfall. Your support will continue to be critical as TRTA fights for the most funding possible for TRS-Care.

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

It is only though unified action that we can enact change through the political process.

Be sure to like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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