State officials directed $425 million in federal pandemic aid to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas on Thursday—a move that allowed the agency’s Board of Trustees to announce that healthcare premiums for some 500,000 TRS-ActiveCare members will stay the same or decline in some cases for 2022-2023. Without the infusion, rates likely would have risen.
In response to SB 1444, which was passed by the Legislature last year, TRS also has moved to a regional rating system for premiums, so that TRS-ActiveCare premiums reflect the price of healthcare in a given region. This move was intended to keep more people in the plan. If premiums are not competitive with local healthcare costs, school districts are incentivized to opt out of TRS-ActiveCare and offer their district an alternative healthcare plan. Regional healthcare prices vary depending on a variety of factors, including the number of doctors in the area, ability to access care, and the historical cost of healthcare in that region.
On Thursday, the TRS Board of Trustees approved premium rates for each of the 20 regions for the 2022-2023 plan year, which begins in September. The funds were apportioned in such a way that no public educator in any of the 20 regions will see a TRS-ActiveCare premium increase.
Look out for a full breakdown of both days of the TRS Board meeting in next week’s edition of the Hotline.