Blog

03 Mar
0

The March is On: TRTA Rallies Members to Action!

March is the most crucial month for legislative action on issues that impact you and your fellow public education retirees. The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is moving full steam ahead, and we need your help!

THE MARCH IS ON!

The Texas Legislature is moving at a rapid pace, finalizing budget discussions, hearing bills in committee, having heated floor session debates, and we need them to be THINKING ABOUT YOU while they are doing the work of Texas!

Here are all the major issues TRTA is watching right now:

  1. TRS-Care

Bills have been filed in the Senate, and the House will file more legislation soon! On Monday, TRTA will send out an Inside Line explaining more about what this means for you! Are you age 65 or over? Are you under the age of 65? Are you an active educator thinking about retiring this year? Then this conversation is about you!

  1. Windfall Elimination Provision

TRTA leaders visited Washington, D.C. earlier this week to meet with Texas congressional members about what the next steps are in repealing this unfair federal provision! Next week, TRTA will let you know more about progress on the WEP! Are your earned Social Security wages being taken away from you? Then this conversation is about you!

  1. The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees Elections

The members elected to the Board of Trustees of TRS represent your interests! Elections are underway for two open trustee positions: both a Retiree and an At-Large seat. It is vital that you vote! Next week, TRTA will send out more information about all of the candidates and provide you with details on how to submit your vote. Are you a retiree who wants your voice represented on the TRS Board of Trustees? Then this conversation is about you!

  1. The 64th Annual TRTA Convention

TRTA is busy finalizing all of the intricate details that go into planning an amazing annual convention and business meeting. Next week, TRTA will send out training session schedules and more! If you are attending convention, and want to be trained on being the best TRTA advocate you can be, then this conversation is about you!

  1. TRTA Day at the Capitol on March 29

TRTA is marching on the Texas Capitol grounds on Wednesday, March 29, with thousands of retirees ready to rally to Keep TRS-Care Affordable! If you want to attend this day of grassroots advocacy and make your voice heard and get your legislators thinking about you, then make a plan to join us on March 29! Don’t miss this great opportunity to band together with your fellow retirees! If you want to keep TRS-Care affordable for yourself, your fellow retirees, and future retirees, then this conversation is about you!

The Most Important Things You Can Be Doing Right Now

TRTA needs your help! March is the month that will make all the difference in our legislative agenda! LET’S SET OUR GOALS HIGH AND GO FOR THEM!

TRTA is sounding the alarm: anyone in TRS-Care or who will retire soon and plans to enroll may see drastic changes to their health care options! But making no changes will be even worse!

Now is the time to take action! We need EVERY TRTA member involved in the initiative to keep TRS-Care affordable!

THE MARCH IS ON!

  1. Call Your Legislators (use our toll-free hotline: 1.888.674.3788)! Let’s make 25,000 phone calls in March! Make regular, once-weekly phone calls to your elected officials asking them to “Keep TRS-Care Affordable!” Use our helpful phone scripts!
  2. Email Your Senators! TRTA members have sent more than 4000 emails so far. Let’s send 50,000 emails this month! Send your email TODAY!
  3. Vote in the TRS Trustee elections! Read more about the candidates here.
  4. Write an editorial and send it to your local newspaper! You can find a sample editorial here.
  5. Make a plan to join us at Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, March 29! RSVP via Facebook here!

Thank You

Thank you for your membership to TRTA. We are fighting ardently for your benefits every day at the Capitol. If you are not yet a TRTA member, please join here. Be sure to read our comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions about TRS-Care here.

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

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01 Mar
0

TRTA Day at the Capitol Event Shaping Up!

Four weeks from today, thousands of public education retirees from all across the great state of Texas will convene at the Capitol to rally for improved benefits and health care security!

Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) Day at the Capitol will be held on Wednesday, March 29, as members encourage legislative action to address the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program shortfall and other vital issues!

If you have questions about the day’s schedule, what to wear, where to meet, and how to get involved, then be sure to read our comprehensive update (includes a list of Frequently Asked Questions) by clicking here!

Are you Making Plans to Attend Day at the Capitol? Let Us Know!

You can let us know if you’re attending TRTA Day at the Capitol by joining our Facebook event!

If your district or local unit is bringing a large group to the event, send an email to info@trta.org with details such as how many people will be attending. (Please note, individual members do not need to RSVP if they have registered for the 64th Annual TRTA Convention).

Help Now By Calling Your Senators and Representatives!

TRTA is encouraging its members to begin making phone calls to legislators about the March 29 event!

Use the toll-free legislator hotline (1.888.674.3788) to call your Senator and Representative today!

Be sure to invite them to the Rally on the South Steps at 11:30 a.m. and the Ice Cream Social on the East Lawn at 12:30 p.m. We want legislators speaking to retirees at both events, and to visit one-on-one with retirees as well. If your legislator wants to speak during Day at the Capitol, have them give us a call at 1.800.880.1650 and ask for Cindee.

Thank You!

TRTA IS THE VOICE FOR EDUCATION RETIREES, and we want to be seen and heard during Day at the Capitol. We want to thank all of you who plan to attend or help us communicate with legislators about the big day.

The planning is well underway and we are looking forward to having as many members as possible here for this legislative event. Your phone calls, emails, and presence in Austin are all going to help advance the issues most important to you and your retirement.

Again, thank you for all you do! TRTA will continue to update you on our plans for March 29.

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28 Feb
0

TRS-Care: All Member, Statewide Action Alert!

CLICK HERE TO CONTACT YOUR SENATOR: All TRTA members are asked send an email urging Senators to “Keep TRS-Care Affordable!”

The 85th Legislative Session began on January 10, 2017, and movement on issues impacting public education retirees is happening quickly! The Senate Finance Committee has met multiple times to discuss the TRS–Care health insurance program, and has appointed a special workgroup of Senators to focus solely on state-vested health care plans.

TRTA is championing TRS–Care at every possible opportunity, as this program is a necessity for more than 260,000 retirees and dependents. TRS-Care has been the subject of much discussion amongst legislators due to its funding shortfall, which sits at $1 billion!

TRS–Care is teetering on insolvency and collapse. Shared pain—the idea that everyone connected to the plan pays a little more—has solved funding problems in the past. However, the state is suffering from a slowed economy, schools are fighting to remain financially stable and active employees’ wage growth is being eaten away by increasing health care costs.

So far, the Legislature has conducted one interim study that provides two possible solutions (see TRTA’s review from the 2016 4th quarter issue of The VOICE).

Senate budget writers are discussing your TRS-Care program, but the proposed plan on “fixing” TRS-Care means you could be paying a lot more!

In one scenario, a pre-65 TRS-Care participant’s out-of-pocket costs could be as high as $12,130 per year!

The TRS-Care program is set to change drastically. The bottom line is that retirees will pay more, have fewer benefits and should expect more of the same in the years to come! Unless, the Legislature and stakeholders work together to fix the TRS-Care’s broken funding system!

Many retirees, including some TRTA members, are still either uninformed about this issue or do not think this will impact them!

TRTA is sounding the alarm: anyone in TRS-Care or who will retire soon and plans to enroll may see drastic changes to their health care options! 

We need your help! Now is the time to take action to protect TRS–Care and your retirement security! We need EVERY TRTA member involved in the initiative to keep TRS-Care affordable!

TRTA has crafted a complete overview of where TRS-Care discussions stand today, with a short overview you can read below. To read our comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions about TRS-Care, click here!

QUICK FACTS:

  • The TRS-Care funding system is broken;
  • Current budget proposals do not provide new funding for TRS-Care;
  • Without additional funding, TRS-Care will be unaffordable for many;
  • SB 788 has been filed and would provide for sweeping changes to TRS-Care, including a high deductible plan structure for pre-65 retirees;
  • The lack of new and substantial increases to TRS-Care funding will shift the majority of costs onto retirees;
  • Total premium and deductible costs for pre-65 retirees could explode to $12,130 per year (see our FAQ for complete details);
  • Retirees over the age of 65 would have access to a Medicare Advantage plan only and premiums would increase for most participants;
  • According to the Interim Study Report, retirees over the age of 65 who currently qualify for Medicare B only, will be addressed, and even may receive a premium decrease;
  • TRTA believes the base funding for TRS-Care should double, but so far discussions have been dominated by how much cost-shifting can be forced onto retirees in the program;
  • TRS-Care has over 60,000 participants under the age of 65. They may be hit hard with tremendous cost increases;
  • TRS-Care has over 190,000 participants over the age of 65. While the proposed changes to these retirees are less severe, your voice is still needed to keep TRS-Care affordable!

HOW YOU CAN HELP TODAY!

  • TRTA is urging all members to call your Senator and ask them to “Keep TRS-Care Affordable!”
  • Let’s make at least 20,000 phone calls to our Senators this session!;
  • Make a plan to make regular, once-weekly phone calls to your elected officials asking them to “Keep TRS-Care Affordable!”
  • Use the toll-free Legislator Hotline (1.888.674.3788) to make your once-weekly calls;
  • Use our helpful phone scripts when speaking to your Senator or their staff members;
  • Click here to send an email to your Senator;
  • If you participate in TRS-Care, we need you and you need TRTA! Click here to JOIN TRTA or to RENEW YOUR DUES;
  • TRTA believes that our members MUST be heard. Your VOICE is needed NOW! Make a commitment to take action today!

Thank You

Thank you for your membership to TRTA. We are fighting ardently for your benefits every day at the Capitol. If you are not yet a TRTA member, please join here. Be sure to read our comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions about TRS-Care here.

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

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