TRTA continues to receive calls and emails about the new TRS Aetna Medicare Advantage plan as well as the Express Scripts Medicare Part D prescription plan.  In this Inside Line, we are sharing a few additional TRS resources with you as you continue to assess your medical care needs.

Aetna Medicare Advantage
TRTA has received reports of some members experiencing long hold times when contacting either Aetna or TRS. Please know that hotline hours have been extended (during November only) for those with questions about the TRS-Care Aetna Medicare Advantage plan. Those hours are as follows:

Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Central Time)
Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Central Time)

If you want to opt-out of the Aetna Medicare Advantage plan and remain with your current TRS-Care plan, please call the TRS-Care Aetna Medicare Advantage Hotline at 1-866-217-2409 (TDD:711).

If you are still uncertain as to whether or not this plan will work for you, please review the Aetna Medicare Advantage Checklist provided by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) at the following link: http://www.trs.state.tx.us/TRS_care/documents/aetna_medicareAdvantage_checklist.pdf.

Express Scripts Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
TRS also created a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page about the Medicare Part D Express Scripts prescription drug plan.  We are finding this to be a great resource for answering sometimes complicated insurance questions. The link to the FAQ can be found here: http://www.trs.state.tx.us/retirees.jsp?submenu=faqs&page_id=/TRS_care/faq_trscare_2_and_3.

Contact TRS-Care Customer Service at 1-800-367-3636, Option 2, to discuss opting out of the Express Scripts Medicare plan.

Questions and Answers about Both Plans
TRS has also created a helpful “Decision Chart” that may provide you with some insight as to whether or not one or both plans are right for you.  Please view the decision chart here: http://www.trs.state.tx.us/TRS_care/documents/trs_care_enrollment_decision_chart.pdf.

One of the questions we receive most often is “can I stay in the new Aetna Medicare Advantage plan, but opt out of the new Express Scripts Medicare PDP?”  The answer is yes.  We also receive the opposite question “can I stay in the new Express Scripts Medicare PDP, but opt out of the new Aetna Medicare Advantage plan?”  Again, the answer is yes.  You can also opt out of both or choose to stay in both programs.

We encourage you to get all the facts before making a decision, as some will find that they receive richer benefits and lower costs associated with the new plans. Remember, you can always go back to your original TRS-Care coverage if these plans don’t satisfy your needs.

As we mentioned in our most recent issue of The VOICE, the opt–out provision allows you to assess the plans and measure your satisfaction by either continuing in the plans or opting out at your discretion. Participants will not be able to opt out and then opt back in within the same plan year. You will be able to opt out and revert back to Medicare and TRS–Care 2 or 3 (the plan you have now) after the plans go into effect in January. There is a waiting period to get back into the existing system, which is the first of the following month after you opt out.

We hope these resources are helpful to you and provide you with the information you need to make an educated decision.

Thank you for being a member of TRTA. Your membership matters to us, and we hope to represent YOUR voice on these issues. If you are not a member and want to join, please contact TRTA at 1.800.880.1650.