Blog

17 Oct
0

Texas Retirement System Finalizes TRS-Care Sustainability Study

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees met today (Friday, October 17) to discuss findings from the recently finalized sustainability study of the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program.

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) attended the meeting, and Executive Director Tim Lee provided public comment regarding the imminent funding gap the insurance plan faces in the coming biennium. TRS-Care will experience a shortfall of nearly $1 billion by the year 2017.

The TRS-Care study expanded upon the options for helping to resolve the funding crisis that were presented earlier this year. You can read TRTA’s initial review of each option online by clicking  on the links at the bottom of this article. TRTA will provide a new, full review of each option and the changes again over the coming weeks.

In their appropriations request made earlier this year to the Legislative Budget Board (LBB), TRS asked for a supplemental appropriation of nearly $900,000,000. This is in addition to the 1 percent of active teacher payroll that is commonly provided to TRS-Care during each fiscal year, which was also requested.

TRTA supports full funding of the statutory requirement of 1 percent in both years of the biennium. Additionally, TRTA supports the full funding of the TRS-Care supplemental appropriation request (which equals $875,000,000), preferably from the state’s general revenue fund.

TRTA is not opposed to the idea of supporting the supplemental appropriation with resources from the state economic stabilization fund (the rainy day fund); however, we contend that if the Legislature does not adopt a long-term view of solving the TRS-Care funding issue, we will be back next session requesting an even higher supplemental appropriation.

The state’s funding structure for TRS-Care, which is in no way tied to the actual costs of the program, must be addressed. Sustaining TRS-Care by basing funding on the payroll for the active educator community is a broken funding methodology. TRS has administered a health care system to the best of its ability with a revenue stream that is incapable of keeping up with medical cost inflation. As Tim Lee stated during his public testimony, “it’s a funding problem–not a benefits problem.”

The state has been very efficient in delivering support to the retirement system, but TRS-Care has been woefully underfunded for years. Temporary savings measures have maintained this vital program over the years, but these mechanisms have all been exhausted!

Significant changes will need to be made to the retiree health care program to make it viable in the future. However, our concern is that retirees already are paying a significant share of the total health care costs. Absent additional funding sources in the future, our retirees will no longer be able to afford adequate health care.

This cannot happen! TRTA is seeking support from the state for our dedicated public education retirees and pre-retirees. Now is the time for the Legislature to revitalize their commitment to TRS-Care. It is vital to the retirement security of our education retirees! Doing anything less will expedite the move towards welfare for our current and future state public education retirees.

The TRS-Care crisis is twofold: we must fill the immediate funding gap of nearly $1 billion AND fix the revenue structure so TRS-Care can continue to provide health care benefits for our public education retirees for years to come!

Thank You
Thank you for being a member of TRTA. If you are not a member of TRTA and want more information about joining, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650. Follow us on Facebook and visit our YouTube channel for regular video updates.

TRS-Care Sustainability Study: TRTA Review, Summer 2014
Read more about Option 1: Pre-funding the long-term liability.
Read more about Option 2: Funding on a pay-as-you-go basis
Read more about Option 3: Funding for 10-year solvency
Read more about Option 4: Retirees pay full cost of optional coverage
Read more about Option 5: Mandatory participation in the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans
Read the follow-up to Option 5
Read more about Option 6: Defined contribution–Establish a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) for non-Medicare retirees
Read more about Options 7, 8 and 9

Read More
10 Oct
0

Texas Retired Teachers Foundation: Empowering Educators!

Support the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation by viewing and sharing this video!
The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) preserves the legacies of public school personal through its charitable giving. Emily Tannert, a high school band teacher in Georgetown, Texas, explains her reaction to receiving a grant from the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF). TRTF’s foundation month is in November, but you can donate now at trtf.org!
The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation’s (TRTF) annual fund-raising event, Foundation Month, begins in November. Foundation Month seeks to fund charitable programs such as classroom assistance grants.

TRTF awards 15 classroom assistance grants yearly, each worth $500. These grants make a positive impact in the lives of active teachers by providing funding for projects and equipment that would otherwise be inaccessible.

TRTF is committed to improving the past, present and future of teaching in Texas. But we can only do so much before exhausting available funding resources.

TRTF needs your help to continue the charitable programs that comfort retired teachers, inspire active teachers and enable future teachers to achieve their dreams.

Since 2008, TRTF has provided more than $170,000 to public school retirees, teachers and students. This type of impact would not be possible if not for the generous donations provided by you.

Throughout the month of November, Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) local units will be accepting donations towards TRTF. You have the power to make a change through the simple act of charity.

Please consider donating on the TRTF website, trtf.org, or over the phone at 1.800.880.1650.

You can look forward to a new TRTF video update every week throughout the month of October!

Show your support for our vital charitable programs by sharing these videos now and throughout the months of October and November! To watch the first update, please click the video below.

Thank You
Thank you for being a member of TRTA and for supporting the Foundation’s charitable endeavors. The Foundation’s very existence is dependent upon YOU. If 2,000 TRTA members donate $50 each, we can raise $100,000!

If you are not a member of TRTA and want more information about joining, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650. Follow us on Facebook! Visit our YouTube channel for regular video updates, including our month-long series of Foundation videos!

Read More
03 Oct
0

Texas Retired Teachers Foundation: Connecting Generations of Educators!


Support the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation by viewing and sharing this video!
The Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) preserves the legacies of public school personal through its charitable giving. Jamie Larson, a retired band teacher, was inspired to become TRTF Board Trustee after seeing his former band hall custodian receiving food at a food bank. TRTF assists retirees in need through its “Helping Hand” program. You can donate to TRTF online here!

With the new school year underway, many members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) have been attending local unit meetings and preparing for the upcoming legislative session. The fall is also the time of year that we gather together for good meals and great company.

In the spirit of the season, the TRTA Board of Directors chooses November as the month to honor its charitable partner, the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF). TRTF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded and maintained by Texas public education retirees.

TRTA members dedicated their entire lives to education. Many of our children and now grandchildren are now following in our footsteps!

This great education legacy carries on through the Foundation’s four charitable programs, each with a unique focus that allows us to help educators of the past, present and future: “A Helping Hand,” Classroom Assistance Grants, Student Scholarships and the Legacy Campaign. TRTF is truly connecting generations of educators!

The next issue of The VOICE is dedicated to the Foundation and our members’ donations to these programs. Your donations to TRTF have provided more than $170,000 to public school teachers, students, and retirees since 2008. That includes supporting 67 public school teachers, 74 future educators, and 64 retirees!

For the very first time, The VOICE will also include the Foundation’s Annual Appeal Letter! Using The VOICE for our annual appeal saves thousands of dollars in postage, meaning thousands more can be dedicated to our charitable programs!

We hope you will enjoy the third quarter issue of The VOICE and consider making a tax-deductible donation to TRTF. If you do not want to wait to show your support, you may donate online here or call us at 1.800.880.1650 to donate by credit card over the phone.

Look forward to a new Foundation video every week throughout the month of October! Please continue showing your support for our vital charitable programs by sharing these videos now and throughout the months of October and November!

Thank You
Thank you for being a member of TRTA and for supporting the Foundation’s charitable endeavors. The Foundation’s very existence is dependent upon YOU. If 2,000 TRTA members donate $50 each, we can raise $100,000!

If you are not a member of TRTA and want more information about joining, please contact us at 1.800.880.1650. Follow us on Facebook! Visit our YouTube channel for regular video updates, including our month-long series of Foundation videos!

Read More