Earlier this week, the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) sent out an Inside Line about next week’s Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) Board of Trustees meeting. During the first day of the meeting, the TRS Board is hosting a Town Hall event that will allow TRS-Care participants to communicate their questions, concerns and suggestions about the health insurance program.

As we mentioned in our update, this Town Hall event is very significant. The feedback you and other TRS-Care participants provide will impact the TRS-Care sustainability study presently being conducted by TRS. This sustainability study, first conducted in 2012, is being updated for the Texas Legislature. TRS is tasked with finding solutions for maintaining this vital healthcare program and presenting viable solutions to the Legislature before the 84th Legislative Session begins in January 2015.

TRS-Care faces a funding shortfall that could reach or exceed $1 billion by the next legislative session. This crisis MUST be addressed, and your participation in this meeting is vital. TRS will also discuss TRS-ActiveCare for current public school employees during this meeting.

In Person:
The meeting is being held at the Education Service Center, Region 2, Room 3-23, located at 209 N. Water St., Corpus Christi, Texas, 78401 on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. If you are able to attend in person, please do so! Here is a map of the meeting location: Education Service Center Map.

Contact Us Before the Meeting With Your Questions, Concerns, and Suggestions:
We know many of our members are not able to travel to Corpus to participate in the meeting. Several of you have sent us emails this week telling us about your concerns and suggestions. Please know that TRTA board members and staff will be present at the meeting to share the information you have provided for us.

You can still send an email to info@trta.org with the subject line “TRS-Care” to give us your feedback! As we mentioned earlier this week, TRS will review ALL options when conducting their study: increased revenues, increased retiree premiums, benefit reductions, or a combination of factors. Let us know what avenues you think TRS should pursue and why, and what avenues you as a plan participant are able or not able to follow and why.

Watch the Meeting From Home:
For those of you who wish to watch the meeting broadcast from your home computer, you can view the live webcast through the TRS website www.trs.state.tx.us.  The direct link (which will not be active until the meeting begins) is: trs.mediasite.com/mediasite/Play/3072175dfa5c4ab08b2a16333dba377a1d.

As the meeting is being broadcast, you can also send your questions by email using a special feature. This feature will not be available until the meeting has begun, and complete instructions for sending in your email during the live broadcast are available through TRS here: http://www.trs.state.tx.us/global.jsp?&page_id=/about/announcement_townhall_questions.

For those of you who use Twitter, you can even tweet your questions live by submitting them to the TRS Twitter account @TRSofTexas and using the hashtag #TRStownhall. Please be sure to watch the webcast for answers. Although not all questions will be answered due to time constraints, similar questions will be grouped and a thorough answer provided.

Watch the TRTA Facebook Page for Updates:
TRTA will post these same links again next week from our Facebook page. If you have a Facebook account, be sure to like our page today (https://www.facebook.com/pages/TRTA-Texas-Retired-Teachers-Association/126989714019649). TRTA provides frequent updates about issues pertaining to your retirement benefits as well as information about other pension plans across the nation.

Thank You!
A huge thanks to TRS for providing the information included in this update. The TRS Board is facing a difficult task in dealing with the TRS-Care funding crisis. With your feedback, they can better address an issue that affects more than 200,000 retirees.

Members, please add the TRS-Care Town Hall meeting to your schedule NOW! (February 12, 2014 1:00 p.m.)

Thank you for being a member of TRTA. If you are not a member and are interested in becoming one, please contact our Membership Department at 1.800.880.1650.