We ask the Texas Legislature to make immediate and ongoing increases in state funding for active school employees’ health insurance provided through formula aid to school districts.
- The state’s funding for health insurance has stagnated at $75 per employee per month since 2002, while the cost of health insurance has risen steadily.
- As a result, employees have been bearing an ever-increasing share of the cost of coverage. In the 2002-2003 school year, after taking into account the monthly $75 state contribution and the minimum required district contribution of $150 a month, the employee share of the premium was under 30 percent for individual coverage under a mid-level comprehensive plan administered by the Teacher Retirement System. The employee share has more than doubled since then, to 63 percent this school year.
- Employee costs for decent individual and dependent health coverage, whether through TRS or through local district plans, are increasingly unaffordable.
- The Texas Legislature needs to address the health-care affordability crisis for active school employees as part of the long-needed overhaul of school-funding formulas.
- Increased state funding should begin with an immediate $75 monthly increase per employee in formula aid for school districts earmarked for health coverage, effective for the current 2016-2017 school year.
- Additional annual incremental increases in state funding of $75 per employee should occur until the employee share of the premium cost for individual coverage under a decent comprehensive plan is reduced to the level originally established in 2002 when the state began specifically funding employee health care through the school-finance formula. Once that level of state funding is restored, it should be maintained by indexing the state contribution to medical costs.
- As part of a systematic approach to the health-care affordability crisis, the state also should support wellness programs and additional cost-reduction measures that do not compromise the quality of health care.