The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) will host a Town Hall Meeting this Thursday October 22, 2015 to discuss the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program. As you may have read in a recent edition of the Inside Line, the next and most important step in the TRS-Care funding crisis is to find real, long-term solutions and protect the program’s participants.

The TRS-Care Town Hall Meeting is vital to this discussion! Your participation is necessary, and we encourage members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) and their fellow retirees and pre-retirees to attend.

If you are planning to attend the meeting in person, or if several members from your local unit are attending, please send us a quick email at TRTA to let us know! A headcount will give us an opportunity to plan ahead for providing refreshments.

Webcast Information

We know that not everyone can come to Austin for this meeting. TRS will webcast the meeting live on Thursday from this link. This feature which will also enable viewers to submit questions and comments online. Please note, this link will not be live until Thursday at approximately 8:00 a.m.

If you are not able to drive into downtown Austin this Thursday, please view and participate in the meeting using the link above.

Meeting Location, Parking Information and Agenda

The meeting will be held in the cafeteria on the 4th floor of the TRS headquarters building at 1000 Red River Street, Austin, Texas 78701. The meeting will begin at 8:00 a.m., and will adjourn at approximately 4:00 p.m.

Limited parking is available in the TRS lot. You may consider parking in the state parking garage located a block north of TRS at Trinity and 12th Streets. This is the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage (1201 San Jacinto between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets at 12th and 13th Streets). Parking is free for the first two hours and $1.00 for each half hour thereafter (maximum daily charge: $10.00). There is also metered street parking near TRS on Red River Street.

Several topics of discussion will be reviewed during the daylong meeting. At times, questions from the public will be welcomed.

Schedule of Events (subject to change)

8:00-8:30 a.m. Opening Comments

9:00-9:15 a.m. Meeting Overview (expectations for the day will be set)

9:15-10:15 a.m. Healthcare Environment Panel Discussion

10:15-10:30 a.m. Board Q&A

10:30-11:30 a.m. Strategies for Cost Containment and Consumerism Panel Discussion

11:30-11:45 a.m. Board Q&A

11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Working Lunch – Interactive Question and Answer Period

12:30-1:15 p.m. TRS-Care Panel Discussion

1:15-1:30 p.m. Board Q&A

1:30-2:15 p.m. TRS-ActiveCare Panel Discussion

2:15-2:30 p.m. Board Q&A

2:30-3:15 p.m. Association Panel Discussion

3:15-3:45 p.m. Interactive Question and Answer Period

3:45-4:00 p.m. Looking Forward, Closing Comments

Town Hall Meeting Significance

The Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) and its vigilant, dedicated members have worked to preserve TRS-Care for 13 years. The health insurance program is vital to nearly 250,000 participants, and has proven to be successful and well-liked. TRS-Care offers quality health care at a reasonable cost, and is necessary for our public education retirees’ financial security.

Our friends in the Texas Legislature worked with TRTA during the 84th Legislative Session to protect TRS-Care from an impending shortfall of $768 million. The funding approved by our Senators and Representatives meant that TRS-Care participants would not have to face crippling premium increases or worry about losing their coverage.

The $768 million appropriation was just one step the 2015 Texas Legislature took in preserving TRS-Care. They also passed a bill to create an interim study group tasked to discuss TRS-Care. The TRS-Care Town Hall Meeting and legislative study group seek to find long-term solutions to the TRS-Care funding shortfalls and provide a stable health care coverage program for retirees.

Though we won one battle in securing additional funding for TRS-Care in 2015, the next and most important step is to participate in finding solutions to the program’s funding instability. The process for discussing these long-term solutions begins now!

We hope are you are able to participate in the TRS-Care Town Hall Meeting on October 22, either in person or online. Please remember that now is the time for our members to get involved and be as vocal as possible and that YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

With more than a year to go before the next regular legislative session, TRTA members can feel assured that this will not be the only meeting they may have a chance to attend or participate in. We have a long road ahead, and this is a great start to understanding the issues and potential solutions being considered to help TRS-Care. Your participation will play a critical role in the outcome for our retiree health care program.

Please Share This Information

If you are a local unit or district leader, please share this information with your fellow retirees at your fall meetings and through email and phone trees! If you know of members who are not receiving the Inside Line, please show them how simple and quick it is to sign up!

Let’s not exclude our friends who are still actively teaching and working in our public schools. Please encourage all active school employees to receive the Inside Line. We are all in this together, and our ability to protect TRS-Care today will ensure those pre-retirees that their benefits are safe as well.

We must spread the word and get retirees and pre-retirees motivated and inspired to be part of the solution! Our friends in the active community are working on this vital issue as well. We know that by sharing information and getting everyone involved, we can solve any problem that may impact the retirement security of our current and future TRS retirees.

Thank You

Your support helped us receive $768 million towards TRS-Care during the 84th Texas Legislative Session, but there is still more work to be done. Protecting TRS-Care is one of TRTA’s top priorities, and your help can make all of the difference. Be sure to stay tuned to our other digital mediums to keep informed on all the latest news and updates. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.