The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) has partnered with Aetna Healthcare to offer TRS-Care participants and spouses alternative health insurance options. To access the alternative options, use the following:
- Visit the Aetna/TRTA offerings website online at www.healthspire.com/TRTA.
- 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. Please note, Aetna’s call center will be open this weekend.
- 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.
- If you are over 65 years old and decide to leave TRS-Care, you will not be able to return.
- 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. Press #6 to get to TRS-Care.
TRS-Care is the Still the Best Option for the Money for Most Medicare-Eligible Retirees
Many TRTA members have contacted us with questions and concerns about their health care coverage. TRTA believes in TRS-Care and wants it to thrive now and in the future. TRTA works closely with the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) to ensure that TRS-Care provides the best service within its legislative funding limits. Even with recent changes, TRS-Care still offers the best benefit for the money for the majority of TRS annuitants.
However, we know that some Medicare eligible members (particularly a spouse) on the plan may opt-out of TRS-Care due to increased expense. As a result, TRTA has contracted with Aetna to provide alternatives to TRS-Care for members who find themselves looking for other options. The TRTA Aetna supplement plans are deeply discounted for TRTA members, and these discounts are only available through the Aetna call center that works with TRTA.
TRTA cannot tell you which insurance product will work best for you and your family. These decisions should be based on your personal health care and financial needs. Our partnership with Aetna will continue to honor the trust relationship we have with TRTA members and retirees across the state.
Use Caution, Take Your Time, and Take Notes
Please use caution as you explore any alternatives to TRS-Care, and make sure you know all of the consequences of leaving a group plan like TRS-Care if you choose to enter the individual health care market. Oct. 15 – Dec. 7 marks the open-enrollment period for the TRS-Care/Humana Medicare Advantage plan and all MA plans. During this time, many insurance sales people will be attempting to sell you into leaving TRS-Care.
Take your time and take notes.
- Make sure you compare options to all the benefits of your current program, including choice of providers and prescription coverages.
- Ask anyone who is trying to sell you a product to demonstrate how the benefits of their option may be better than the TRS-Care/Medicare Advantage plan that will be the only options after Jan. 1.
- If you have a number of prescriptions, make sure you understand the prescription plan and how coverage gaps (the donut hole) may affect you under any plan you buy. TRS-Care/Silver Scripts RX plan does not have coverage gaps and this can be a significant difference.
- Ask any vendor to explain to you what the timeline is for signing up for Medicare Advantage plans or supplement (Medigap) policies. Have them tell you the last day you can make a decision. Don’t let them rush you.
TRTA’s goal in the partnership with Aetna is to ensure that you are assessing your long-term health care needs, while communicating with knowledgeable vendors who have the ability and the experience to offer quality advice. This partnership also offers quality health care alternatives for Medicare-eligible individuals at a discount for TRTA members who have already made the decision to leave TRS-Care. TRTA’s coordination with both TRS and Aetna ensures that you will be communicating with representatives who are familiar with your current TRS-Care coverage and can answer your questions effectively.
Whether or not you choose the TRTA/Aetna alternative, you need to feel comfortable that the person selling you insurance is as concerned about your long-term health care needs as they are just selling you a policy today. If you talk to someone at the Aetna number 888-299-0919 and you have further questions, contact us here at TRTA. Our mission, our goal and our job is to represent and protect your interests. We believe that this partnership is a part of that mission, and we want to make sure it serves your interests. We will continue to be an advocate for retired educators in future legislative sessions regarding TRS-Care and health care in general.
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.