UPDATE: The link to the Aetna website is live at: www.healthspire.com/trta
As members of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) know, the TRS-Care retiree health insurance program is changing in 2018. You may have many questions about these changes, and it is important that you understand how your health care coverage will be affected.
For the past several months, TRTA has heard from members that the cost of coverage, especially for spouses, may be difficult to afford for some participants in TRS-Care when changes go into effect in January 2018. Many of our members who are Medicare A and B eligible have asked TRTA to search for dependable health care alternatives that can be trusted.
TRTA has heard this plea, and is now partnering with Aetna to provide solutions should TRS-Care no longer be an option for you. TRTA is pleased to announce that Aetna is offering a suite of products endorsed by the TRTA Board of Directors and designed to meet a variety of health care needs.
The products being offered are for retirees and dependents age 65 or older who are Medicare A and B eligible. These products are discounted for members of TRTA.
Aetna, a company that has worked with the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) in the past as a provider for TRS-Care products, has coordinated with TRTA and TRS to come up with the best possible options for public education retirees. Aetna has worked diligently to address needs for retirees living on fixed incomes and has introduced special rates because of their relationship with TRTA.
Please know that the Aetna programs being endorsed by TRTA are not part of TRS or the TRS-Care program. While TRTA is endorsing the Aetna plans as a possible alternative for members whose needs may be benefited, any decision to leave TRS-Care is one that should be made with education, review, and caution.
TRTA feels comfortable that Aetna will assist our members in making an educated decision, even if that decision is to stay with TRS-Care. As always, TRTA recommends careful review of any health care options, as a decision to leave TRS-Care could mean you may not be able to return to the program in the future.
Even if you or your spouse has considered leaving the TRS-Care program, please know that TRS-Care may still be the best option. We encourage you to communicate with TRS about any decisions you make regarding your health insurance coverage. Please be aware that if you leave TRS-Care, you will not be able to re-enter the program if you are already age 65 or older unless you have a special enrollment event, which is rare.
TRTA also urges caution for the next several months, as many retirees may be contacted by a variety of insurance companies in the individual market offering health care options. TRS-Care participants are part of a group plan, and the recent changes made to the TRS-Care program have prompted insurance companies to begin offering numerous alternative health options for retirees.
Understandably, choosing insurance products can be an overwhelming experience! TRTA cannot say whether or not one insurance product will work better for you and your spouse than another. TRTA’s coordination with TRS and Aetna, however, ensures that you will be communicating with representatives who are familiar with your current TRS-Care coverage and can answer your questions effectively.
How to Learn More
- Beginning October 3, 2017, you may visit the Aetna/TRTA offerings website online at www.healthspire.com/TRTA. (Please note, this website will not be live until Tuesday, October 3).
- This offering is available for TRTA members only. If you need to check or update your membership please call TRTA at 1.800.880.1650.
- Beginning October 5, 2017, you may call 1.888.299.0919 (TTY: 711) between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday to speak to a health plan expert who can guide you through your choices between the TRS plan or an Aetna plan.
- If you decide to opt out of TRS-Care retiree health insurance benefits, you will still need to inform TRS by calling 1.888.237.6762.
Thank you for your membership to TRTA. If you know a retiree who is not yet a member of TRTA, please encourage them to join.