The Teacher Retirement System of Texas’ Board of Trustees held a special meeting this past Thursday to address several statutory changes resulting from legislation passed during the 87th session. The board also announced now customary bad news: Premiums from the upcoming year are expected to rise.
Of the changes introduced by the Legislature, the most notable are the creation of a TRS ombuds role and new rules regarding districts of innovation (DOIs).
As a provision of HB 1585, the TRS board was tasked with appointing a new ombuds who would monitor TRS’ interactions with members and respond to members’ complaints. The board voted unanimously to appoint the current secretary of the TRS board, Katherine Farrell, as the interim ombuds. During this period, Farrell will fulfill her duties as the secretary as well as those of the ombuds. The TRS board plans to amend its bylaws to account for the ombuds at its July meeting to make way for hiring a permanent ombuds at its September meeting.
Some DOIs have opted out of TRS Active Care in order to offer competing healthcare plans. SB 1444, which has been sent to the governor’s desk, limits a DOI’s ability to do this going forward. No new districts of innovation will be allowed to opt out of TRS Active Care starting next year. The legislation also mandates that all districts maintain their status as either “opted out” or “opted in” to TRS Active Care for the next five years.
Along with addressing these changes, TRS announced the TRS Active Care rates and benefits changes for the fiscal year beginning this September. TRS estimates the average total premiums would be 6.2% higher than those of the previous year. You can find a full rundown of the projected TRS Active Care rates and benefits on the TRS website.