Blog

15 Dec
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Happy Holidays From TRTA

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) extends its seasons greetings to all members and friends. As the year draws to a close, we know our dedicated retirees will enjoy spending time with loved ones and celebrating the holidays.

We at TRTA, the Board of Directors and staff, want to express our sincere appreciation to all of you for all of the support you have given to this great organization in 2016.

Because of you, TRTA is able to participate in vital legislative discussions that impact your retirement benefits, from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) pension fund to health care, and our charitable partner, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF), has raised over $70,000 since November for its vital programs to help educators of the past, present and future.

In 2016, our members eagerly anticipated the results of the legislative interim study group on TRS-Care. The group’s report was released in late November. Read TRTA’s analysis of the report here.

The report, though grim, is the first step in a series of steps that must be taken to find long-term solutions to the health insurance program’s fiscal issues.

In 2017, we will face many challenges. Legislative session begins on January 10, and TRTA is ready to work with our many friends in the legislature to find workable, sustainable solutions for your TRS health care program. TRTA will also work to find any opportunities for an annuity increase for retirees, and it is our strong belief that 2017 may be the year we truly advance a fair and realistic solution to the first of two Social Security issues, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)!

Though we hope you find time to have rest and respite over the coming weeks, we also ask that you take time to read the soon-to-be-released fourth quarter issue of our news bulletin, The VOICE. These will begin arriving in mailboxes next week!

You will notice that in addition to a detailed analysis of the interim study group report, we are asking all members to send a personal note to their legislators about what TRS-Care means to them. On page five, you will find a template letter, with plenty of space to add your comments and share your heartfelt concerns. After completing the letter, be sure to include your name and address so that your legislators will know how to contact you. The page is perforated for easy removal.

To make it easier for our members, we ask that you simply mail your completed letter to the TRTA state office in Austin (313 E. 12th Street, Suite 200, Austin, TX, 78701). Our staff will organize the letters by legislator, and members of the TRTA State Legislative Committee will begin hand-delivering your notes to all Senators and Representatives in January.

We want every legislator to receive a letter, in fact, multiple letters! Even if you think your Senator or Representative already has received several letters, send in another one!

Now is our opportunity to reach out to the Texas Legislature and work with them to find better options for TRS-Care. Without your input, this effort will be more challenging. Your legislators need to hear from you, their constituents, in your own words!

Let them know that you want to be a part of the solution. Ask them for their help in ensuring that public education retirees have access to quality, affordable health care.

After the first of the year, TRTA will also launch an online letter campaign to Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, and Speaker Straus. All of these leaders have supported TRTA in the past, and we look forward to their guidance and help in the coming legislative session.

Thank You

Thank you for your membership to TRTA. If you are not yet a member, we need you to help us protect your retirement security. Please join TRTA today!

If you know someone who should be a member of TRTA who has not yet joined, please consider buying them a TRTA membership—just $35—as a gift for this holiday season!

Remember to check your mailboxes for the latest issue of The VOICE, arriving next week, and send in your personal, handwritten letter to your legislators. We hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season!

Be sure to like us on Facebookfollow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Year-end, tax-deductible donations to TRTF can be made online here.

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12 Dec
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Texas Retired Teacher Foundation Nearing Fundraising Goal!

The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF), the charitable arm of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA), would like to thank all of our members and friends for their generous donations this holiday season.

As our members may know, November was designated by the TRTA Board of Directors as Foundation Month, a time to increase awareness of our charitable partner organization’s programs, good deeds and plans for the future!

So far, TRTA members, districts and local units have donated nearly $67,000 to the Foundation! TRTF is so very grateful for your consideration, as your donations help educators of the past, present and future.

The funds will help TRTF provide grants to retirees in critical need through “A Helping Hand,” grants to public school teachers for innovative projects and learning platforms right here in Texas, and scholarships to recent college graduates who are about to enter the education field for the very first time.

To learn more about these great programs, please contact us:

  • “A Helping Hand” (assistance is available for retirees in need by contacting help@trtf.org or 1.800.880.1650)
  • Classroom Assistance Grants (request applications from info@trtf.org; submission deadline March 16, 2017)
  • Beginning Teacher Scholarships (request applications from info@trtf.org; submission deadline March 16, 2017)

Be sure to watch this year’s Foundation video series, featuring real recipients of TRTF’s programs here.

Donate Today!

Please consider helping the Foundation reach its fundraising goal of $100,000 by the end of 2016. If 1,337 people donate just $25, we would reach our goal!

TRTF will continue to improve the legacy of public education through its Beginning Teacher Scholarship program and Classroom Assistance Grants, and help retirees experiencing serious emergencies thanks to your generosity!

The future of Texas lies in the hands of educators, and with your support, we can make that future even better and brighter! Donate today!

You may donate to TRTF online here, or you may call and donate over the phone with a credit card at 1.800.880.1650 (please ask for Dawn).

The third quarter issue of The VOICE also featured a special article about the Foundation, along with TRTF’s annual appeal letter and donation card. You can mail in your donation using the pre-paid envelope included with your issue. All donations are tax-deductible.

Thank You

Thank you for considering the Foundation when you do your charitable giving this year. Your donations help educators of the past, present and future!

Be sure to follow TRTA on Twitterlike us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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05 Dec
0

Questions and Concerns About Enrolling in the New TRS Humana MA Plan

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) is receiving many calls and emails regarding a letter that was sent out on November 25 about the transition from Aetna Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan to Humana MA. As our members may recall, a decision was made by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees over the summer to change providers for the MA plan from Aetna to Humana.

The calls and emails we are receiving indicate confusion about the content of the letter. The letter is from Aetna and communicates the first part of the transition, that members will be disenrolled from Aetna’s MA plan. While this is true, this does notmean that plan participants are losing their coverage. Rather, the information we have received is that Aetna MA participants will be automatically enrolled in the new Humana MA plan.

You can read the letter here.

This information is also provided on the TRS website:

“If you are already enrolled in a TRS-Care Medicare Advantage plan through Aetna, you do not need to take any action. Humana will be the insurer for your plan beginning January 1, 2017.

If you are in a standard TRS-Care 2 or 3 plan, you can enroll in a corresponding level of Medicare Advantage (or lower) between October 15 and December 7. To enroll, contact TRS Health Benefits directly at 1-888-237-6762. If you want to keep your standard TRS-Care plan, you don’t need to take any action.”

We received information from Humana that participants will receive a new insurance card in the mail this month, between December 15 and December 23. Please be sure to open any mail you receive from Humana this month to ensure that you receive your new card.

We would like to remind our members on the MA plan to utilize the online resources provided by TRS to answer many of their questions.

Click here to review the FAQ regarding the new Humana Medicare Advantage Plan.

For additional information about the standard, non-MA TRS-Care plans, please click here. For questions about prescription drug changes, please click here.

Thank You

Thank you for your support of TRTA. We are committed to getting you all the information you need to know about changes to TRS-Care, and we are prepared to fight for your benefits in the Texas Capitol!

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

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