The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) will host a Town Hall Meeting on 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.

We know that not everyone can come to Austin for this meeting. TRS is working on other solutions for plan participants to be a part of the meetings, but not have to drive into downtown Austin. Some of these options may include a live webcast, as well as social media integration through websites like Twitter. TRTA will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Please mark your calendars now and begin making your travel plans if you plan to attend the meeting in person. The TRS location may have limited seating, so checking in advance with TRTA will be a big help as we all make plans for this special event.

Meeting Location and Preliminary Agenda

Though the details of the meeting are still being finalized, the meeting location has been determined and a preliminary agenda has been created.

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.

Several topics of discussion will be reviewed and at times, questions from the public will be welcomed. As the meeting date draws nearer, TRTA will provide our readers with facts and figures about TRS-Care, as well as suggestions on how you can provide information that may help solve the challenges facing TRS-Care.

Preliminary 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 p.m.-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 appropriation of $768 million to keep TRS-Care solvent was just one step the Legislature took in 2015. 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.