Will The Texas Legislature Prohibit TRS ActiveCare Alternatives?

In order to protect TRS ActiveCare, the Committee on Pensions, Investments, & Financial Services recommended in their interim charges that the 87th Texas Legislature take action to “explicitly prohibit independent school districts from using District of Innovation status (as) a method for opting out of TRS-ActiveCare.”

‘Innovation’ status threatens TRS healthcare as districts mull pulling out of the system

SOURCE: Texas AFT

Some districts are trying to use the DOI process to abandon the Teacher Retirement System of Texas healthcare program, a move that threatens the quality and affordability of healthcare for all school employees.

TRS ActiveCare provides healthcare coverage for 440,000 people and is self-funded, with premiums paid for by public school employees, districts, and the state.

Districts using DOI in order to exempt themselves from participating in TRS ActiveCare pose serious problems for the TRS system and all school employees.

First, while DOIs might save money by choosing a competing healthcare plan for their employees instead of paying into TRS ActiveCare, the competing healthcare plan is almost guaranteed to provide lower quality coverage.

Second, districts with exemptions from paying into TRS ActiveCare also jeopardize the stability of the system overall. Public insurance plans like TRS ActiveCare work best when the system is populated by a high number of participants. When DOIs exempt themselves, they are shrinking the pool of participants in the system. The remaining participants are likely to be higher risk patients who require more specialized healthcare services.

In order to protect TRS ActiveCare, the Committee on Pensions, Investments, & Financial Services recommended in their interim charges that the 87th Texas Legislature take action to “explicitly prohibit independent school districts from using District of Innovation status (as) a method for opting out of TRS-ActiveCare.”

Note that Texas AFT originally fought the DOI legislation because of the possibility of districts opting out of many quality safeguards in the Education Code–such as the 22:1 class size law, provisions of teacher contracts, duty-free lunch, planning and preparation time minimums, and other provisions that work for our students and teachers.

 

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