Underfunding by Legislature Leads to Changes to Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance
A change to the retired teachers’ health insurance program that was adopted by the State Teachers’ Retirement Board (TRB) this month will impact retired teachers and spouses who are on—or will soon be on—the TRB’s Medicare supplement (65 and older) plan.
The new base plan will actually have a lower premium ($134 per person, per month) and it will be a Medicare Advantage plan through Anthem. The TRB will continue to offer the current Stirling plan, but it will be a buy-up, at $259 per person, per month, for the full package that includes drugs, dental, vision, and hearing coverage.
Because of the legislature’s failure to appropriate the required amount to the retired teacher health fund, the fund would have become insolvent by August. In order to avoid insolvency, the TRB voted on January 11 to change the base medical plan it offers for Medicare participants effective July 1, 2018. This does not impact the prescription drug, dental, vision, and hearing plans.
CEA leaders, members, staff and the TRB have long lobbied legislators to appropriate the required amount to the health fund and warned of the dire consequences if they do not. The legislature, therefore, is fully responsible for this change. Had they appropriated the statutorily required amount, this change would not have occurred.
TRB health consultant Joe Fields is attending all CEA-Retired county meetings to explain the changes and provide more detailed information about both plans. Retirees will be asked to make a plan election in April and will be receiving much more detailed plan descriptions shortly. That information also will be posted on the TRB website.