Urge Lawmakers to Support Affordable Health Insurance For Texas School Employees

Send a Letter to State Lawmakers and Leaders Now!

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.

TRS_HealthCareChartTHE PROBLEM:

  • 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 SOLUTION:

  • 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.

    Send a Letter to State Lawmakers and Leaders Now!

Comments

    • Fred Gregory says

      Then vote for Democrats! One reason teachers are not treated better in TX is because Republicans are in control. Republicans hate taxes, hate government employees and want to privatize your job. If you want change then you must vote for change.

  1. Karen Whittiker says

    I have been in education for 25 years! I bring home less money EVERY year due to the outrageous increases in healthcare premiums. With the cost of living increasing, healthcare premiums rising and no pay increases, I now have to supplement with another job after school WHAT A SHAME!! I simply do not understand how the great state of TEXAS can continue to mistreat the vast numbers of educators who dedicate their lives to our future leaders. No other profession seems to put their employees in this difficult position. Please consider increasing the states portion of funding for healthcare.

    • Fred Gregory says

      Well Karen, my wife is in the same boat. However, I know most teachers vote Republican in TX. This is what you get when the people who hate government and want education run like a corporation control the Texas legislature. I do not agree with everything they do but I know if Democrats were in control teachers would have much better pay, benefits and retirement as they do in may Blue states. I taught school and believe me, you all are really getting a bad deal from the GOP.

  2. Rebecca says

    Yes, we need the backing. We got a raise this year but because insurance went up so high I am bringing home less money than I did last year. I am also paying bigger deductibles but am carrying the same insurance policy.

    • Fred Gregory says

      Yes Mam, and those union states that Texans like to condem? Well those teachers make more money, have better benefits and get more designated planning time. Teachers brought a lot of this upon themselves by supporting conservative politicians. Who you vote for matters and all this testing, documentation and micromanagement stuff is rooted in conservatives who think schools are a factory and kids are widgets.

  3. says

    Teachers need support…..many spend days in classrooms and leave and go take infusions, chemo or take expensive meds just to keep going. Texas likes to brag about school progress but we don’t support our teachers with out-of-pocket health expenses that cut their take home pay. Please take responsibility and support our great teachers

  4. Debbie Shaddix says

    Long hours, stressful working conditions, inadequate funding, paying for materials out of my own pocket … And now this year almost every bit of a large raise went to pay for increased health care costs! What will happen when teachers have finally had enough and we all go find other jobs with better working conditions and better pay? It’s something the legislature needs to be looking at seriously. When I am paying a ridiculous amount and have a huge out of pocket level and an insurance company that doesn’t seem very responsive to my needs, what’s the point in even paying for insurance? Something has to be done about this!

  5. Robin Cason says

    After 27 years of teaching, I am now-thanks to increase in insurance premium and lack of enough of a raise to offset it, making less this year than last! This has to stop. PLEASE!

  6. says

    As a former teacher, I know the grief of paying for expensive health care. I started my teaching career in 2001 and taught for 12 years. After the first year, I was excited about getting a raise the following year only to learn that it would be swallowed up by inflation because of the increase in health care costs.

    As an Organizer, I hear the heartbreaking stories of teachers on a daily basis who can no longer get the quality medications they received in the past and can’t get adequate health care for needs in the areas of lupus and diabetes just to name a few. I see their tears. I’ve hugged their necks. I reassure them that things will get better. Teachers sacrifice enough must we force them to sacrifice their dignity?

    Who would continue to serve in a company that refused to improve their health care coverage?

    Our teachers deserve better. We wouldn’t do this to our police officers, our fire fighters, our nurses. Shame on Texas.

  7. marilyn crockett says

    I’m the cafeteria manager and can’t even afford the health care insurance. As of right now I’m covered by husband’s ins. and his company is laying people off in December and I won’t be covered anymore. Sad thing is it’s the same insurance company, but he gets better coverage with his company. One of my cafeteria ladies only brings home $3.50 a paycheck and that’s every 2 wks. It just goes to show Texas doesn’t care about school employees. After insurance we are working for free and we are more involved with the kids than most of their parents. It’s disresepectul and insulting.
    Something has to change!

  8. Michael Berrier says

    The cost of health care will have far reaching consequences for the future of education in Texas. There is a shortage of teachers and the number of students entering the field of education has decreased. You can not attract quality teachers if they can not make a living. The state has for years called for more and paying less. You get what you pay for.

  9. Paula says

    They better be looking ahead, I see a huge teacher shortage coming, and they need to try to make this profession in Texas more appealing.

  10. Jihad Sliman says

    Just like in the military, health care should be free for educators and their families. They dedicate their lives to the future of this nation.

  11. B Cichon says

    As a retired teacher with trs retirement and insurance any increases is catastrophic. Because retired teachers do not get cola raises retired teachers will be living on the street. Medicare is going up 50 percent in January for people that do not have medicare taken out of there ss checks. This will hit texas retired teachers hard because of the offset of social security we get little or no ss. Everyone says they care about teachers but there actions do not show this. This will effect all future retires. No wonder there is a teacher shortage.

  12. Rosa Villasenor says

    As it is, we are the less paid professionals in the country regardless do if you hold a Master’s degree. State employees without a degree have better pay and health coverage. Does that make any sense?

  13. William Johnson says

    Same song that everyone else has sung. I am paying more for less coverage this year as compared to last year. In the past 5 years my costs have doubled. I don’t know anyone else in the business sector paying $1200 out of pocket a month for insurance.
    Healthcare costs have eaten up most if not all of my raise the past 2 years.
    Please provide some relief.

  14. Stephanie Spivey says

    I finally had to change my health insurance plan this year to a step below what I have been carrying for years. I was already paying $650 a month and it was increasing to over $700. I couldn’t afford another increase.I now have less coverage and benefits. Thankfully, my husband’s employer pays his premiums and I do not have to carry him. Something must be done!

  15. mike welch says

    I believe this increase in healthcare rates is the direct result of Obamacare. How is voting for Democrats going to help lower our premiums?

    • says

      We encourage you to research the issue of the impact of the ACA on rates. It’s a pretty complicated issue, but most fact checking news organizations point to lower premium inflation after ACA: http://www.factcheck.org/2014/11/the-great-premium-debate-continues/ Regardless, rates would have been increasing with or without ACA. The key here is that while most employers increase their contribution through the years as rates rise, the state has not–ever. Most Democrats in the state Legislature are receptive to increasing the state’s contribution. But this is a Republican state for the most part, so we need to urge Republican candidates to also embrace this need.

    • says

      Indeed, that will help. But unfortunately what we’ve heard from members is that pay raises are simply getting eaten up by increases in health-care premiums.

  16. Richard D. Collins, M.M.G. says

    The failure to participate in the ACA (Federal Affordable Care Act) by Texas Legislators is costing me money out of my pocket. My health care costs as an employee of the State of Texas are extremely high because Texas will not accept the matching federal funds supplied by the Affordable Care Act.

    I believe it is quite obvious that these funds set aside for the purpose of setting up state exchanges are not being accepted for political reasons. It is a proven fact that states who have accepted the ACA funds are seeing drastically lower health care costs across the board. Over thirty states have already accepted this money and set up exchanges, including conservative Kentucky, where the state exchanges are a huge success both economically and politically.

    While Texas lawmakers win political points for thumbing their noses up at the President of the United States, my hard-earned, federal income tax money gets sent to health care providers in other states. This is a real disservice to the voters of the state of Texas, and it is my earnest hope that they will eventually see through this shallow decision by their lawmakers. I hope they vote for lawmakers who make decisions that support the people, not their campaigns.

  17. says

    We definitely need all the help we can get. We work so hard every day so that our students can be successful. We put in so many extra hours, working late almost every day and we do not get paid any overtime. We got a raise this year, but because insurance went up so high many of us are actually bringing home less money than we did last year. We are also paying bigger deductibles although we are carrying the same insurance policy.

  18. says

    The cost of health care is higher every year. The future of our students’ education in Texas is at risk. There is a shortage of teachers and the ratio of students in the classroom has increased. Those changes have affected our students’ performance due to the so many requirements. Teachers are already stressed out, and increasing the cost of health care makes it worse. Now, it is hard to attract quality educators if they don’t make enough money and the salary raise is not enough to pay the health insurance cost . The state has, for years, called for more responsibilities, and paying less. You get what you pay for.

    • Helen Villarreal says

      And yet the CEO’s of these insurances get way too much. Especially the big ones. Some get between 40 and 80 million (per year). Remember, our government should be of the people, by the…and for the people. That means that we should sent up to the capitol a rep or senator who will work for us and run the insurance well or make sure he/she puts someone in charge on that insurance to do it right. Actually, if there were no insurance company but either a state single payer or national single payer. The Republicans say it’ll run up the debt but look at some of the Scandinavian countries….they actually have a surplus. And they and the rest of the developed world have concentrated on wellness and prevention. In Europe the lifespan has surpassed ours. Canada, Japan, all of Europe, and some other Asian countries all have a health plan. Roosevelt and his cabinet tried but the powers that be prevented it. And here we are with all the red tape and it’s all about money. And it will keep increasing forever unless we get to the root of the problem.

  19. says

    What is the purpose of paying $75.00 dollars for benefits that are almost non-existent because our premiums are so high. Teachers can’t provide health insurance to their families because they get paid so little for doing soooo much….yet, teachers put more out-of-pocket expense because of their love for their kids. It is time Texas does something FOR THE TEACHERS.

  20. says

    It’s utterly pathetic and idiotic we receive a raise, then health care goes up. Really? This could be why there’s a shortage of teachers! We struggle along trying to make ends meet. Let’s start by slashing “overpaid” salaries. I haven’t been with the school districts too long and I’m grateful for this too. Because in the end, I wouldn’t have sufficient money to retire on.

    Thank you,

    Irene Romo-Garcia

  21. Randy Lewandowski says

    We need affordable health care for school employees. I encourage you to support this position.

  22. Cathy Oxner says

    The state contribution for health care for retirees, and school employees is not sufficient. Consistently the burden is passed on to the employee while simultaneously thinking we got a raise. What a deception. Then you propose that responsible students enter the teaching field. Why would they?
    Cathy Oxner

  23. Regina Camacho says

    It’s bad enough that we pay so much for health care, but now that I’m retiring next year, I’m really going to have to dig deep. Pay will be half and health insurance will almost be double. I pay only for myself, but my heart goes out to single mothers in our profession who pay a fortune. People who work at circle K get better insurance than we do. I didn’t go to college to be treated like this job is a hobby.

  24. Michele MacQueen says

    I have put in 34 years so far. I hear about colleagues retiring and the amount of the insurance to be paid out during retirement does not seem right. Please consider more affordable healthcare, while employed as well as during retirement.

  25. Susana Surber says

    We need affordable health care for all school employees. I make less money now, then when I started teaching 15 years ago because of the cost if my health insurance.

  26. Cheryl Cobayashi says

    We need affordable health care for current and retired school employees. Other state employee have health insurance and other benefits far better than those of us that are in education.

  27. Helen Villarreal says

    I replied to Martha Carrillo but it is actually a general reply to all. When I was teaching I had Humana. Once when I needed a physical I waited about two and a half hours for the doctor. And I was paying 300 and + . This included my husband. I feel for those still in the field. I am retired. I plan to work part time when I return from a trip to Germany.

  28. Jeff Marasca says

    Our deductibles are ridiculous! $5K out-of-pocket before the insurance coverage even begins? What teacher (or family for that matter) has $5K handy for a catastrophic emergency? We’d go bankrupt, so so much for enjoying life and handling necessities if you break your arm! I’m working a 2nd job to supplement my income to buy a better healthcare plan since our district one is atrocious! Monthly, it’s $75 from the state, $300 from the district, and another $102 from me, so that’s $477 for a pathetic plan. Like my cohorts here, I work my fingers to the bone for my kids, and having to have a 2nd job is a slap in the face. No wonder no one wants to become a teacher anymore: who’d want to be given such delicate responsibility only to endure abhorrent treatment and benefits? To top it off, working 25 hrs/week at a 2nd job is beginning to have effects on my teaching, and I’m embarrassed sometimes.

  29. Lonnie Nielsen says

    We need affordable healthcare for school employees and retirees. Retirees make a small pension and cannot afford to be using it to pay for health insurance. PLEASE HELP!!!!

  30. Troy says

    Texas educators need affordable health care for current and retired school employees. Other state employees have health insurance and other benefits far better than those of us that are in education.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer the question below to comment * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.