Blog

31 Aug
0

A Special Message from TRTA and TRTF

Dear members and friends of TRTA and TRTF,

We would like to take this opportunity to share our heartfelt concern for all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Many people, including members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) and friends in the active educator community, continue to face dire circumstances or struggle to find the next foot forward. Their neighbors and friends are also struggling. Entire communities will spend months or even years recovering from the devastation left in Harvey’s wake.

Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is suffering in one way or another. Perhaps you do not reside in the coastal areas of the state, but have family members who do. We know your hearts are hurting for your fellow Texans, and our hearts are hurting as well.

Despite this hurt, there is a great sense of empathy and generosity within the education community. We have heard so many wonderful stories about Texans from all across the state traveling to Corpus Christi or Houston or Port Aransas or Rockport to volunteer to help rescue families, work in shelters or donate food and clothes. The Houston Independent School District will provide three free meals a day to all students for the school year.

Our TRTA staff members today provided donations of baby items, kitchen supplies and more to Seton, a tenant of the TRTA building in Austin, so that doctors who work at the clinic can personally deliver the items tonight.

Texans, and TRTA members especially, are strong, resilient and compassionate. This week alone, TRTA members and friends have donated more than $8,000 to the Texas Retired Teachers Foundation (TRTF) to provide financial relief to retirees and pre-retirees who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. Thank you so much for reaching into your hearts and sharing your donations to help your fellow retirees and active teachers. TRTF will continue to keep you updated as aid is provided to those in need.

We also want our members to know that American Hearing Benefits, one of TRTA’s endorsed product vendors, is extending the following to TRTA members – if you have had a Starkey hearing aid lost or damaged in the Hurricane, you can have it replaced by calling 888.200.5701.

Please reach out to TRTA and TRTF if you or someone you know is need of emergency assistance as a result of the storm. You can reach us at 1.800.880.1650. Thank you again for being a member of TRTA and supporting the education community.

Sincerely,

Nancy Byler Jamie Larson Tim Lee
TRTA President TRTF President TRTA Executive Director

TRS Releases Health Insurance Plan Rollout Schedule

TRTA is preparing to attend tomorrow’s Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees meeting, and has some valuable information to share with members!

The TRS Board of Trustees Board Meeting Book includes the timeline of events for the rollout of the new TRS-Care plans that go into effect on January 1, 2018. This communications timeline will help plan participants understand how the process will unfold over the next few months. Look to Tab 9 in the book for additional details.

TRS Communications Timeline

September

  • Invitations to retiree information sessions go out:
  • 88 sessions over 40+ days
  • Entire 270,000 retiree population invited
  • Single RSVP process for entire population
  • All TRS-Care vendors will participate: – Humana – CVS Caremark/SilverScript – Aetna
  • Set agenda with presentations for participants with and without Medicare
  • Webinars in November for those who are unable to attend in person
  • TRS releases “The Pulse” publication – announces information sessions, reminder about extended plan year for Standard plan

October

  • Retiree information sessions begin Oct. 9
  • TRS-Care Medicare Rx announcement letter from SilverScript
  • Plan guides with premium and benefit information
  • TRS releases “The Pulse” publication – includes info session reminder, SilverScript contact info and website

November

  • In-person retiree information sessions end Nov. 2
  • Week of webinars begins Nov. 6
  • ID cards begin to go out
  • TRS releases “The Pulse” publication – getting ready for Jan. 1

December

  • ID cards continue to go out
  • TRS releases “The Pulse” publication – getting ready for Jan. 1

January 2018

  • NEW PLAN YEAR for all TRS-Care participants starts Jan. 1, 2018

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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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.

Read More
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.

Read More