You can find all news, updates and resources addressing COVID-19 here on our website.
TRS publishes long-awaited details on the new retiree healthcare plans
The Texas Retirement System of Texas (TRS) has posted to their website details on the new retiree healthcare plans that will go into effect January 1, 2021.
TRS-Care covers 226,000 retirees and families. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) will administer TRS-Care Standard for those under 65, while United Health Care (UHC) will administer TRS-Care Medicare Advantage for those who have Medicare. The switch in providers was approved in February in response to member feedback about the cost of coverage.
TRS-Care Standard is poised to save $140 million over three years with BCBSTX, and UHC will save TRS-Care Medicare Advantage $314 million over five years. TRS-Care is counting on these savings to help improve the long-term sustainability of members’ health care benefits. Some important things to know about your retiree healthcare benefits:
- Pharmacy benefits will stay the same. TRS-Care Standard participants still have prescription drug coverage through CVS Caremark. TRS-Care Medicare participants have access to TRS-Care Medicare Rx through SilverScript. Members can continue to use the mail order service or current pharmacy.
- TRS will continue to provide $0 COVID-19 diagnostic testing, telemedicine, and hospital stays for all of 2020 in addition to other TRS health plan benefits for both active and retired members. TRS is continuing to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the health plans and is getting guidance from health officials to find the best long-term solution for additional COVID-19 coverage in 2021.
- The 86th Texas Legislature appropriated $231 million to keep TRS-Care premiums the same through 2021, and the added savings from the new provider contracts allow TRS to support this commitment.
- Members will not need a referral from a primary care provider (PCP) to see a specialist under either TRS-Care plan.
- Most current providers for TRS-Care Standard participants are in the BCBSTX and UHC networks. TRS is working with BCBSTX and UHC to build custom websites that will be online later this year. Members can look up their providers on the BCBSTX website and members can still see any provider that accepts Medicare and will bill UHC.
TRS-Care members should be receiving plan information in the mail over the next month, and TRS will be hosting virtual counseling sessions and webinars throughout the Fall. Members can schedule individual virtual counseling sessions to discuss their benefits by calling 1-800-223-8778. An overview of the retiree healthcare plans and commonly asked questions can be found here.
Help our members in need after Hurricanes Hanna and Laura
Our members need our help. The latest disaster is damages from Hurricane Hanna on the lower Gulf Coast and in the Rio Grande Valley, and the devastating destruction from Hurricane Laura in Louisiana. AFT’s local unions worked around the clock to check in with our members, their families, students, and communities during the hurricanes.
Texas AFT and AFT are providing direct aid to our school employees and their families impacted by heavy winds and flooding. Donate now to help out!
Texas AFT Faith & Public Education Virtual Town Hall
Join us for a virtual conversation about faith and public education in Dallas on Thursday, September 3, at 6:30 p.m. Texas AFT’s Dr. Cameron Greer is hosting State House Representatives Rhetta Bowers and John Turner alongside Ministers Jonathan Lowe and Kristin Kelly, and school Counselor Latisha Ware. We will be discussing reopening schools safely, what churches are doing to support public education, and more. Register for this special event!
Voter registration deadline coming up; Share My Lesson has election resources
We don’t want anything to come between you and the ballot box. You deserve a voice in this state’s future. Double-check your voter registration and make sure you’re registered now—well before the Oct. 5th, 2020 deadline to register. It’s easy to double-check and register at www.register2vote.org. You’ll be sent a pre-filled registration form and a stamped envelope to return your registration form. We’ve also put helpful election resources in Share My Lesson to help teach the next generation of voters about what’s at stake in their democracy.
Member Benefit Spotlight: Free trauma counseling
AFT members work hard—now more than ever—to educate, heal, help and serve our communities. Sometimes our own stress is compounded by a personal or workplace trauma; still, we struggle to be fully present for others. Now the AFT is offering a new, free benefit—trauma counseling—to provide help and healing for our members, whenever needed, wherever a member may be. Find out more here.
On Wednesdays, we wear red!
Turn your social media channels red each Wednesday in support of educators and students. Our goal is to show our numbers across platforms and to push local leaders and elected officials to show their support too.
While we’ve seen some districts and counties delay start dates for in-person instruction and move closer to our common sense plan for safe school reopenings, there’s still work to do this back-to-school season.
- Download the red #ProtectStudents #ProtectEducators photo for your Facebook profile and see what other actions you can take to spread the word.
Texas American Federation of Teachers represents more than 65,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.6-million-member American Federation of Teachers.