/getmedia/9f8d4804-f61c-413d-be91-46e2268ac151/24_ttv_TRS-Logo.png?width=1200&height=598&ext=.png /getmedia/9f8d4804-f61c-413d-be91-46e2268ac151/24_ttv_TRS-Logo.png?width=1200&height=598&ext=.png

TRS board to consider lowering TRS-Care Medicare Advantage premiums

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Date Posted: 4/17/2024 | Author: Heather Sheffield

On April 11, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Joan Huffman (R–Houston) sent a joint letter to Teacher Retirement System (TRS) Board Chairman Jarvis Hollingsworth asking the TRS Board of Trustees to lower insurance premiums for Medicare-eligible participants in TRS-Care Medicare Advantage. The letter also asked the TRS board to offer a one-time reenrollment opportunity for retired educators who may have left the program but may wish to reenroll due to the lower premiums.  

The TRS board will meet to discuss lowering the premiums, among other things, May 2–3.  

The TRS-Care program faced a massive shortfall of over a billion dollars back in 2017. In response, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 3976 by Rep. Trent Ashby (R–Lufkin). The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Huffman, overhauled TRS Care, including significantly increasing retiree health care premiums. The additional premiums paid by retirees have had the intended effect of shoring up the fund but not without the downside of increasing the burden on retirees, driving many of them to seek coverage outside of TRS. Although the health care funding landscape hasn’t changed much in the intervening years for pre-Medicare TRS retirees, for those on the TRS Medicare Advantage, changes to the amount and methodology of Medicare funding under the Biden administration have significantly decreased the provider cost for TRS Medicare Advantage. The combination of increased plan funding from HB 3976 and the decreased cost of providing the plan has resulted in a current surplus balance of over $3 billion.  

The TRS board now has the opportunity to consider passing the benefits of these reduced costs on to plan participants by lowering premiums while still maintaining a healthy reserve. The TRS board will receive more information on this at its May meeting but will most likely vote on premium changes in July. TRS will host webinars this summer so plan participants can learn more about their options and select the plan that best fits their needs. 

ATPE will report on the May and July TRS board meetings and keep our members apprised of any changes made. We appreciate the cost savings created at the federal level and the desire of the lieutenant governor and Senate Finance chair to take advantage of these savings to benefit retirees. 



Elizabeth Sunderland

For all the years as a teacher and school counselor my insurance was affordable. Once I retired I pay double the amount for health care.

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