For years, Texas lawmakers have been trying to stem the bleeding of the state’s health care plan for retired teachers. The plan has been at risk of going unfunded for nearly two decades because of demographic and economic changes, including more retirees and rising health care costs. During this year’s legislative session, lawmakers took steps to make up for the plan’s $1 billion shortfall  .

But Tim Lee, executive director of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) says the fixes aren’t enough, and the situation remains calamitous for hundreds of retired teachers and school workers.

“The legislature started with a $1 billion shortfall and in the end, they decided that retirees are going to pick up $520 million of that shortfall,” Lee says.

Lee says most retired teachers can’t afford the additional costs. For example, the average premium for a high-deductible health plan for a retired teacher under 65  with no beneficiaries could rise from $1,300 to $9,550 in 2018, under the legislature’s fix.

“Retired teachers on average make about $2,000 a month,” Lee says. “Ninety-five percent of our school districts do not pay into the Social Security system.”

Lee says monthly premiums start at a reasonable $200 per month, but that the average deductible has risen to $3,000. Retirees with higher care expenditures must eventually pay 20 percent of their health costs until their out-of-pocket expenses reach $7,500.

Problems with the teachers’ retirement health plan stems from the way the legislature appropriates money for the system, and how its benefits are calculated, Lee says. The state employee health care system, by contrast, isn’t  facing a shortfall.

“We believe that our state employee colleagues deserve to have reasonable health insurance benefits,” Lee says. “The fact is the legislature appropriates twice as much money for half as many people to fund their health insurance program. [Funding for] our health insurance program, TRS-Care, is based on how much teachers get paid. It uses a percentage of the aggregate, active teacher payroll in the state of Texas to fund health insurance. And it is in no way connected to the rising cost of health care inflation.”

TRTA advises changing the system’s funding formula to address actual trends in health costs.

 

Written by Shelly Brisbin.

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  • Margaret July 13, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    I think it’s time for the n.e.a. Maybe.and that is something I thought I would never say

  • Jeff Poole July 11, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Teachers are state employees. Why are they not treated like state employees? Teaching is as important as building roads, policing those roads, and any other state job. Why are teachers getting the short end of the stick, AGAIN?
    Wife just retired from teaching. 23 years. Our insurance is going to eat up all off her retirement except an amount that won’t make a decent car payment. Fortunately for us, our home is paid for. Her car(today) is paid for. But what about a few years from now? What about the huge deductibles looking us in the face NOW?
    If the legislature was looking at a disaster like this is creating, what would THEY do?

  • Tommy Brown July 11, 2017 at 6:59 am

    It is terrible what our legislators or doing to retired teachers. They should be ashamed.

  • Carolyn Shepherd July 10, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Teachers who have one of the most important jobs in our state shouldn’t have their health care deductibles raised to absurd levels to balance the budget. Their health care should be the same as every other state employee. It’s crazy that a custodian has better health care than a teacher in whom we entrust the future of our children.

  • ERNESTO Lopez July 10, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Texas has always given low salaries with strings attached and now facing a huge increase in health insurance that is not affordable. Always getting the shaft. Maybe newer teachers will see that Texas doesn’t take care of educators

  • Velma Moreno July 10, 2017 at 11:46 am

    This is so unfair. Teachers always get the short end of the stick.

  • Barbara Phillips July 10, 2017 at 9:51 am

    No cost of living increase in TWENTY YEARS…..would be nice if utilities and gasoline and food had not gone up along with healthcare

  • Beth Shepperd July 9, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    This unfair, and avoidable transfer of cost to Texas retired teachers clearly reflects the regard that the legislature has for us. They need to hear or cries or maybe their replacements will.

  • Karen Bush July 9, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Please explain WHY state employees are so much more important than teachers? How is that not discrimination?

  • Marsha Ricks July 9, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    We have worked tirelessly many years for little pay. We can’t get all our social security benefits, which we also worked for. Some privileged person said we were ‘double dipping ‘. Didn’t call it double dipping when we were professionally handling disrespectful students or parents, working long hours, including summers ! Now they want to increase our healthcare cost because of their mismanagement!!! Can we just live with comfortable incomes and reasonable healthcare (like legislators)…We have paid our dues and at least deserve that!

  • Ricky Guy July 8, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    SO I PLAN TO RETIREMENT IN THE NEAR FUTURE AND THIS IS WHAT I CAN LOOK FORWARD TOO? THE ONES SIGNING THIS IN HAVE NEVER PUT THE TIME IN LIKE A TEACHER OR COACH. HOPE YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW.

  • Linda Peoples July 8, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Scrambling not scrabbling

  • Linda Holman Ed.D. July 8, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    You may have done the impossible–turned Texas BLUE! This is no wavy to treat your employees! Tim Lee, you should be ashamed of yourself!

  • Linda Holman Ed.D. July 8, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    This is the most reprehensible thing the State of Texas has ever done to teachers, principals and administrators! None of us can live on the health care this will provide! At least give us the same as you pay your precious ERS employees! This is the most disgusting thing you have ever done to TRS employees and Tim Lee and all legislators should be ASHAMED of yourselves. Running for reelection should be interesting. Democrats may have their way in Texas!

  • Sharon July 8, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    I think Texas teachers are being treated unfairly. Our insurance should be the same as ERS. Teacher retirement pay is already low, but yet you want us to pay more and get less on insurance.
    We are the backbone of children…teaching them and helping your children grow up to be successful adults. It’s not right to be treated so unfairly! We want equal insurance! We want the same as ERS!

  • Gayla Gerken July 8, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    At some point, there is going to be a huge teacher shortage. It has already begun in some districts. It makes me sad to tell young people to go into another profession than teaching. But I do. Many bright, motivated young people are changing their minds about going into teaching. Finally, when did politics become synonymous with unfair.

  • Cheryl R Lawson July 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    This is absolutely terrible. Why are teachers always short-changed? Where would all you legislators and so-called leaders be without teachers. Even more uneducated than you are now about what is important. I have been a Republican for many years. I can tell you that I will not vote for a single Republican in local or State offices. I am sick and tired of it always being teachers who get the cuts. I was an educator for 32 years, my son and daughter-in-law are both educators. I implore them regularly to get out of education and into a field where they are appreciated. The both teach AP classes and dual credit college classes, and could do so much better in the public arena than in schools. Shame on all of you for not taking care of our teachers and, as a result, all of the children in Texas. I promise that I will vote and campaign against every one of you.

  • Kay Crawford July 8, 2017 at 8:17 am

    This makes me angry. Someone tell me again why I should encourage anyone to be a TX teacher?

  • Dee July 8, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Why is it ok to keep crapping on teachers??? And on public education? We should be treated like all state employees. Better yet, like all legislators…

  • Marsha Mackerer July 8, 2017 at 7:33 am

    I recently retired in May. I have been dedicated to my students for 28 years and have been proud of my chosen profession. However, Texas legislators treat teachers badly, and good teachers in Texas are getting harder to find and then keep. No wonder! They can’t afford to teach and are not respected by legislation anymore.
    If Texas wants to have and keep good teachers, affordable healthcare is a must. We did not enter the profession for the fabulous salary; we knew that it was substandard going in. But we did have good benefits and now that is being taken away. Either do the same to other state employees or give teachers what other state employees have. Shame on Texas for treating teachers this way! I was born in Houston and lived here all my life. A truly proud Texan but not proud of how I’m treated after giving my life to educate Texas children.

  • Carmen A Rodriguez July 8, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Sad that after so many years of working for our TX students this is the pay back from our Texas Lagislature.
    They could do better. Enough said!

  • Brenda Brown July 7, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    Same thing I said regarding Medicare if state legislature. We’re forced to use this insurance they would figure out a solution

  • Rolando Raymond jr. July 7, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Teachers are basically state employees, why have two systems when one will be more efficient and cost saving. Or at least join and have the same healthcare. More economical that way.

  • Billye Robbins July 7, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    You have misused my money and now you want me to pay for it. Although others receive SS benefits and their retirement benefits teachers do not…unfair (military, railroad, congressmen,etc )

  • Randall Kirby July 7, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Between the state robbing our pension plan for years and TRS executives robbing us, we have a grim future ahead. There will be a house cleaning with the next election time for Texas legislators and there needs to be a house cleaning and restructuring of TRS personnel NOW…..leaner and SMARTER than the high paid goof offs in there now!….There is no reason we should be in this mess – unconscionable!

  • Cindy Jackson July 7, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    I was always told teaching was an honorable profession. Look what I’ve gotten for it!

  • Betty Thompson July 7, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Exactly why can’t TRS be covered in the same way state employees? Why the discrepancy?

  • Isabel July 7, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    For those of us that are still working, retirement looks far off!! I literally work for insurance!! If our district does not give us a cost of living raise, I will have to tap into another resource to pay for insurance. As it is I am paying for my husband and I, we are paying an extreme amount, bring home is nothing!!

  • Teacher 1 July 7, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    I think walking out of the classroom until wages and health benefits are discussed and equity is delivered byt legislators is way over due… its called a STRIKE! Why does a prison inmate get better health benefits than teachers in TEXAS??

  • bmain July 7, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    I was an educator for 30 years and did moonlight work in the evening to feed my family. I have all my credits to receive social security. Now, my social security will be cut $400 due to having TRS. I now will have a high premium and I had no choice to take TRS in the first place. I think there should be equity with the TRS and ERS. Two things that will change for Teachers in Texas: 1. It will be harder to get Teachers because this shows lack of appreciation 2. Teachers need to start a strike to demand pay raises and equity with retirement health plans. Obviously, without a raise in 10 years… it is time to show that Teachers can strike when Legislators do not care!

  • Sylvia Ramirez July 7, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    I am angry. I was promised a retirement! Now it is being reneged upon. Legislators make a pile of money and have benefits. I taught and enjoyed every minute, I loved my students but because of illness I had to retire. Legislators, please help!

  • Sylvia Ramirez July 7, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I am very angry! Legislators this is unacceptable to us, we were promised better.

  • Kim Buxkemper July 7, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    It’s simply a case of taking what we paid in and using it elsewhere so that when we need it, it’s been pulled from us. We’ve spent our careers working for the State and being regulated by the State; however, the State does not take care of us as State employees. Double standards! It’s frustrating to us who are retired when the rug has been pulled out from under us. If I’d known, I would have found a different occupation. Work for someone who is dependable that I can trust my retirement investments.

  • Dianne Chrestopoulos July 7, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    I think that TRS and ERS should both be equal. There are more employees in TRS and yet we pay so much more. How is this equitable? Nothing will change unless we let our legislators know this is unacceptable.

  • Dan Brown July 7, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Until Texas teachers develop a backbone and stand up for themselves, they will be treated as unappreciated, unprofessional workers. Since you can’t strike, here is what you can do: Follow your contract. Report for work at 8 AM and walk out the door at 3:30 PM. If you are not allowed planning time on the school district’s time, you do not have to use your personal time, unless paid for it. Texas school districts have stolen your Social Security and now they are stealing your health care. And you stand by and let them get by with it?? Yes, I do feel sorry for you.

  • Norma Picacio-Jones July 7, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    The Texas legislature is literally stealing our money. I earned it. I retired this past December based on what I was promised on my retirement paperwork. That is a like a contract I agreed on. I think all retired teachers need to file a lawsuit because the state legislatures are breaking the contract.

  • Norma Picacio-Jones July 7, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    I am angry!

  • Melinda Shelley July 7, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Teachers have one of the toughest jobs ever! They put their hearts and souls in attempting to guide our world’s young people and educate them always giving 110%.
    They deserve their retirement and it should never be threatened.

  • Susan A. Quinn July 7, 2017 at 11:05 am

    So where is the money trail? What companies or persons are benefiting from the raping of our hard earned retirement?

  • Lyn July 7, 2017 at 11:01 am

    What about those of us with expense monthly medications? My insulin alone will cost almost 1000 dollars a month before the deductible is met and I take 5 other daily meds. I am already predicting many of us (including myself) will be so adversely effected by this that our lives will be permently damaged.

  • Dorothy Morton July 7, 2017 at 10:39 am

    I think it’s sad that the state and people that make 6 figures make decisions about money for teachers. These people send their children to private schools. That’s why they are pushing for vouchers. The people in the US have no respect for teachers, called glorified babysitter, get off all summer, work 8 to 3. They really have no idea what we do. I have retired 2 years ago because with MS I could no longer work. I live in an assisted living home. It is so hard to make ends meet. When my savings runs out my retirement won’t come close. I worked from age 16 through college and the 9 months after until I got a teaching job in ’79. I payed SS all that time and can’t draw that money out because I payed into TRS. We need a retirement raise so we can live a convertible life. Please help.

  • Melody Pauling July 7, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I retired after 33 years and my husband retired after 37 years in public education. We are both already working part-time jobs to supplement our retirement. I don’t know how we can survive health care increases. I have never received a raise from TRS in the 10 years I’ve been retired yet insurance costs and cost of living increase. It is disgraceful that educators are treated this way.

  • Donna July 7, 2017 at 6:28 am

    Surely the plan is to drive retirees from TRS health care plans and relieve the system of the burden of our care. Betrayed.

  • Donna Oswalt July 7, 2017 at 5:04 am

    This isn’t a cause that I can rally with & would like more information.

  • Donna Oswalt July 7, 2017 at 5:03 am

    I’ll give a comprehensive answer later.

  • Brenda Green July 7, 2017 at 12:49 am

    I think this beyond awful!! I want the same insurance as all State employees, prison guards ,etc!! DO AWAY WITH THE “WONDERFUL ” STAR TEST! IT IS SO STRESSFUL FOR THE KIDS, TEACHERS, PARENTS AND COST WAY TO MUCH! THE NEW INSURANCE RATES , ARE JUST STUPID!!! FIX IT !!!

  • Eva Galloway July 6, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    I have been upset about this since I heard about the deductible being raised to $3000. I retired after 39 years in the classroom. If I had known what was going to happen to us, I would have tried to stay in the classroom until I turned 65. I am not able to make ends meet as it is .The most frustrating for me is if I had never worked a day in my life, everything would be “free”. Please, please, please contact your legislators and let them know how disappointing and unfair the decisions made are to educators, especially for the pre-65 retirees.

  • joyce muncy July 6, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    The hypocrisy of this is monumental! The senators receive free health care for life after 18 yrs. Maybe the cuts need to begin at their benefits. They are paid more than any teacher.

  • Remona Wayne July 6, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Teachers are not being treated fairly. We are the ones who has built the future of all professions in the world. We should be allowed to have the same health benefits as state legislators and the President of the United States. We already worked many years to retire and was underpaid for our work. We should be allowed to have Medicare if we are eligible for retirement.

  • Barbara July 6, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    As educators, I think we deserve better. One legislature is not doing anything to encourage future educators. Our children will be the losers.

  • Patty Waynick July 6, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    What can we do???

  • Juanita Masters July 6, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    I hunk this a horrendous miscarriage of justice.. I taught for 28 years and feel that I’m being stepped on and trudged through the mud. This is just not right.

  • Mary Adams July 6, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    I am also concerned. What will the cost be for those TRS retirees who are OVER 65?

  • Linda Eakins July 6, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    I had several jobs over 31 yrs working with children, special ed, transitioned, Title 1 and elementary librarian. My retirement is approx $1200. I pay $200 a month for insurance. Now they plan on increasing my cost again for out of pocket? I’m a pancreatic cancer defeater with other health problems. Am I one of the people with “higher care expenditures”? The cost of my insulins and other meds are approx $200 a month. That’s taking me down to roughly $800 a month not mentioning Income tax. What am I suppose to live on? The powers that be need to see us as individuals who spent their working careers furthering the lives of children, not just drains on their funding which I seem to remember paying into for 31 yrs!!! Get off your backsides and protect our health insurance cost and our retirement!!!

  • Katherine July 6, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    My husband is a retired teacher. He also worked and qualified for social security, but SS penalized him more than four hundred dollars because he has teachers retirement. An individual cannot have traditional Medicare and Medicare advantage at the same time. If these proposed plans pass, we will have to drop TRS insurance and shop for a Medicare supplement and pharmacy policy to remain covered by Traditional Medicare. Loss of a retirement benefit is not the way retirement should be handled.

    • Susan Pool July 7, 2017 at 9:13 am

      Same here. He paid in to SS his entire life. When it comes time to get what you paid in SS calls it “double dipping”.

    • Beverly July 9, 2017 at 10:52 am

      From everything I’ve read about the changes to TRS Care, Everyone 65 and older will transition to Medicare Advantage . I won’t be eligyfor medicare until early 2018. I have a few colleagues who are on Medicare Advantage and have no complaints. I understand that the monthly premium will be $146.00, up from 76.00. Am I wrong about the information I’ve read from Tim Allen?

  • Karen Flowers July 6, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Agree. I think the loop hole is that the state considers us part time state employees. I know so many teachers that simply can not afford this. I guess they will have to opt out. What would that look like. They may be what the state is wanting… For those of us they may be able to afford the insurance plus the deductibles and GENERIC medication TRS must provide us with a “medical savings account”/”cafeteria plan”!

  • Johnna Adams July 6, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    This is a great concern for me, what about all the years I have paid in and not used the benefits and now when and if I need them, I don’t have anything.

  • Cynthia Marquez July 6, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Retired 15 years, no cost of living raises, and everything surely costs more now. Stinks. Investment was educating students for 31 years. My return? Only the pleasure of knowing I contributed to advancing students into a better future.

  • PS Green July 6, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    This is rediculous. Without teachers ALL other professions would not be possible. Why do teachers get so little respect? What would happen if all the teachers just found other employmenT? How would our children become educated?

  • Laura Smith Allen July 6, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Please please help me with insurance. My divorce settlement made me give my dishonest husband half of my retirement and now insurance is going to get the rest. I taught 32 years to be on welfare? I’m about to sob uncontrollably.

  • Angela Cartrr July 6, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    This is frigging ridiculous! Does anyone care about retired teachers? Most if us already have to have a part ti.e job as it is! Who makes these decisions? I am one unhappy teacher.

  • Estell Jay July 6, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    I can’t afford that! I need a knee replacement and can’t afford the deductible, much lesse the cost of surgery. Retired teachers can barely get by as it is!

  • Bonnie Freeman July 6, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    ERS has been stable but no raises for at least 15 yrs. Still grateful as the system has been stable!

  • Bonnie Freeman July 6, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    I am a retired State Employee in Texas. The Employees Retirement Ststem has been great, even though we haven’t had a raise in about 15 years that I’m aware of. However, they have kept us afloat, for which I am grateful.

  • Edna Eaton July 6, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    We haven’t had a cost of living raise in over 20 years.

  • Edna Eaton July 6, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    this stinks! We were promised health care and this is no health care.

  • Anita July 6, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    I do not know WHAT to think !! So much info is confusing , the headline does not match the info and some of this info conflicts with other information ! One hand does not seem to know what the other has said or is doing ! Can’t help but wonder what will happen and when or who it will effect !’ 😱

  • Josephine almanza July 6, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Secretaries, custodians, cafeteria workers, and other none teaching school employees do not get more than 1500. Retirement monthly and no social security benefits. So I guess we can just take aspirin in wait to die.

  • Waltet Raye July 6, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    The very first thing is post all the Congress people’s names and district that voted in this change.

    Second, why can’t they grandfather in the benefits that are in effect to all those that have already retired and start the new program in effect in 1/2018 for those that want to retire. One thing for sure you won’t have many takers in the Under 65 area.

    Or Third. Change the teachers retirement plan to what other state employees have.

    Three things will happen if you leave it alone
    First, thing keeping mind it’s more than Teachers is the whole supportstaff and others , Big one is bus drivers, As a recently retired Transportation Director of 6a district I will tell you the current driver shortages will be out of sight. Keep in mind that most districts only guarantee their driver 6 hrs a day. No way they will make it with this new plan !!

    Second, teacher and staff personnel shortages will become critical. No ways young person will want a career in education with these benefits.

    You can take it to the bank, we, TRS retirees, won’t be voting for the congress people that voted for the new plan. It will be time to drain the TEXAS swamp.
    A

  • Loretta Latus July 6, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Raising health care costs for teachers negates the small pay raises we earn; sometimes we have to wait for a pay raise, and when we get it, the raise will go towards paying for our health care. Our premiums are high as it is. Our co-pays are pricey as well. Please consider another way to alleviate the shortfall.

  • Charles Feuerbacher July 6, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    Why can’t retired teachers get similiar health products that other retired state employees get?

  • Ruth Hancock July 6, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Fund the TRS system. This is inexcusable. What are we supposed to live on?

  • Vickie Bundick July 6, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    The state of Texas borrowed $$$ from TRS back in the 80’s. It was never repaid. It needs to be repaid with interest today!!!!

  • Jeannine July 6, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Would never taught if all the great promises were lies and they knew this would happen when they opened their mouth. They can kiss my vote goodby, not that they cate.

  • Susie Diaz July 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Is this the standard that Texas wants to be known for especially during these hard times. Lets forget that teachers need health care like everyone else and no we don’t depend on our spouses or medicare for our health. We depend on our retirement. We know that educators are the last thing that lawmakers think of when they create a health plan. Forgive my French but we know you think lets screw the retired teachers since they have not worked hard for our state. All I can say is thanks for your help, now we need to all get jobs to help with the health care costs. This is from a voting citizen who loves the state of Texas and works hard to keep patriotism alive in our children..

  • Nancy Cranfill July 6, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    I’m pretty sure that Legislature insurance comes from ERS so they won’t mess around with that. Since the Legislature has dtermined our salary base that would classify teachers as state employees. Maybe we need to put lawmakersnon TRS insurance and see how quick they call THEMSELVES back into session to fix it. HMMM.

  • cindy soo July 6, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Why can’t they merge the teacher’s retirement with state employees retirement? Teachers are more valuable than some legislators.

  • Dannes Boyd Luker July 6, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    It is going to be hard to find young people to go into teaching now. It is getting worse. Texas is wealthy. Shame on you.

  • Archie Elmore July 6, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    I thing this article and others need to get our message out and have it heard

  • Dannes Boyd Luker July 6, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    I am angry. Texas is wealthy. The powers that be are going to be surprised when when there is an enormous teacher shortage. What young person would consider majoring in education these days. You can’t support a family on the salary and can’t survive on the retirement.

  • Kathy Johnson July 6, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    This is horrible. We have all worked so hard to reach retirement (over 30 years for me) in jobs that didn’t pay that well to begin with and now our payments are going up but state retirees’ are not? I just don’t understand!

  • Rebecca A. Crow July 6, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    This is totally unfair and not right. Why is it that this is happening to us and not to other state employees and retired employees???

  • M. Watson July 6, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    I feel that already under 65 yr. old retired teachers should be grandfathered and left the way they get benefits. As we retired expecting to receive health insurance as we currently have it. Only changing when we turn 65. With these drastic changes many of us may no longer be able to afford medical treatment or put it off till it becomes an emergency.
    We are considered state employees when legislators want to raid TRS but not when it comes to insuring us like state employees!
    Please call your legislator.

  • Cheryl Porche July 6, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I can’t afford this. I have diabetes, eye problems, heart problems. What am I going to do? I’m on several medications. I cannot pay for visits to specialists. Please help me. I’m screwed. I never thought this would be so severe. I’m 62, 3 years before I’m 65.

  • Elena saner-greer July 6, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    I would like to retire at the end of this coming school year, but all of my plans are on hold until i know what my insurance will cost. I dont want to work until i am broken down and unable to enjoy some me time. I dont want to die at my desk, just because our legislature discards me once they are finished with my service.

  • Kem Fogleman July 6, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    I’ve just retired a year ago and in another year or two will not be able to afford the premiums. My husband and I are both retired educators

  • Donna Cachero July 6, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I believe that retired teachers should get what they were promised.

  • Hannah July 6, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    My mother-in-law taught for 30 year, retired and was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Raising her health insurance costs is deplorable and shame on those responsible.

  • Lesa Colson July 6, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    This is so totally unfair!! This is how we are rewarded for YEARS of service?!? I will be dropping family coverage effective January 1st. NOT because I want to, but because I HAVE to. I can’t afford the hike. It’s cheaper to pay a penalty. Go figure. Education at its finest, right?

  • Judy Kaiser July 6, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    I am a widow and depend on my teacher retirement to support myself. It does not make sense for teachers to spend almost their whole income on health care. What are our legislators thinking? I paid in to my retirement and now I am facing complete financial calapse?

  • Cheryl Reed July 6, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    I totally agree with he author! Texas teachers are technically state employees, too, and their healthcare shoumd be funded in the same manner.

  • Sylvia Cardenas July 6, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    It is ridiculous and so unfair!

    • Linda Peoples July 8, 2017 at 6:06 pm

      If all teachers stopped teaching, they’d change their mind in a hurry. I am scrabbling as it is and subbing to survive. If I had not gotten sickness upon sickness, I could survive. Now what do I do … we do. I am single. I have no one to help. I had 4 blood clots come all at once last year, so I had to slow down, I have a knee that has no cartilage , a new found blood/ clotting disorder, poor circulation due to inept doctors(how can one have a blood clot for 7 months , after seeing 4
      doctors that sucked money out of me for absolutely nothing , then find a doctor who discovers the problem and makes it worse by doing surgery, so if I ever have another DVT I will lose a limb so I must stay on blood thinners forever). Meanwhile trying to make ends meet with all the medical bills.
      This is asinine . I am aware life is not fair but what is worse is that teachers are treated as if we have no value and yet where would all of you be if you had not had an education provided by
      TEACHERS! I think you want us to die and you don’t care what happens to us , because you are done with us . We have lived on meager income’s our entire teaching careers and now you want us to live on less and hopefully die so you can have more money to serve the new teachers who will even suffer more due to your inability to show respect , equality , and simple compassion . Do you want to know why your children act the way they do ? Take a look in the mirror . I can still teach and do it very well, as I always have . I cannot help the fact that I am getting older and my body is giving out on me . I do not sit and be a vegetable . I am as active as I can be with the ailments I have . As far as I can see , I will not be able to get my knee replaced , I will not even be able to get pain medicine to assist this particular ailment. I am furious . I have always given my all to everyone and to everything I have ever done at work or in life . I have spent thousands of dollars during my teaching career to help my students be successful . I have given many hours of extra help almost on a daily basis . So this is my reward . When I retired , one of the children in one of my classes asked what it meant to retire . Another child said , “Shhh, it means she’s going to die .” I laughed. Little did I know I was going to be put in the position that would give me a very poor quality of life and a ticket to an early death. I wish with all my heart that teachers would cease to teach until an agreement I wish with all my heart that teachers would cease to teach
      until a REASONABLE AGREEMENT has been met. I have given and given and given to the education system of Texas and I expected to at least be sufficiently taken care of in retirement .
      I am horrified that our politicians cannot come up with a better solution when there is money available . I have not lived a lavish life , nor has it been easy for many reasons . However I expect fairness for ALL state employees. What do I think ? You need a team of educators that can educate you on how you are destroying our profession which in turn will leave your children in a very bad spot . Not all but most teachers teach because we love to teach children and we are very good at it .
      We do not do it to become rich . Well we are teaching you tire hands behind
      our backs and make it almost impossible to teach properly because of your accountability system . I wonder how long you would survive in the system we are subjected to every day and then we are cheated even in the last year’s of our lives. Lying is wrong and you have lied to us . Cheating is wrong and you have cheated us . You have squandered and miss managed the money of the state and have not rewarded the employees that have given you and your children so much. Around every corner is a catch 22. There has to be a better way and shame on you legislators for not doing a better job for the people they give you the most .
      It’s downright disgusting !

      • Linda Peoples July 8, 2017 at 6:15 pm

        Scrambling not scrabbling. Pardon the typos.

  • Jane Steele July 6, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Teachers have consistently been push away from salary and benefits that any reasonable employee would expect. It goes without saying that we needed as much as other state employees and yet are always an after thought. Why?? And, to jeopardize the health of the most needy of our retirees is criminal. After all that’s been said, what could possibly be left to say – teachers are once again disrespected and discarded with a wave of the hand!

  • Madelyn Cimaglia July 6, 2017 at 11:53 am

    I won’t be able to afford it until I am 65 and at 65 I have to pay for my medicare because my district never took out social security. This was not my doing. My monthly annuity is only $2500 after teaching for 30 years. This sucks.

  • Kate Raybold July 6, 2017 at 11:46 am

    I did not teach for 37 years to be treated so poorly by our Texas Legislature. I, like so many teachers, stayed in the classroom and taught, not concerning myself with legislative matters. I now have the time and the ability to network with people who believe just as strongly as I do, that retired teachers deserve better representation. All of us are determined to elect people who will represent us and work to defeat legislators who do not.

  • B Post July 6, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Retired teachers have not seen a cost of living increase in over 10 years. Those who retired in the past 10 years will not receive social security equal to the amount they have put in due to the Windfall Elimination Provision. So, those who are under 65 will have to pay for their insurance with TRTA and those over 65 will have to pay for the medicare expenses….which is more than what TRTA is asking for. Both are difficult when you haven’t had a cost of living increase in the entire time you’ve been retired! It is creating an issue where many retired teachers will have to do something drastic to stay afloat and to stay in their homes. That is not the life that any retired teacher should have to look forward to living. I”m not a happy camper as I’m leaving the TRTA insurance 3 months after the new year and am required to then take SS insurance for the remainder of my life. I will receive only $45 in social security to add to my retirement. Whoopee!!! Not!!! Teachers should be eliminated from the Windfall Elimination Provision…what windfall do we have???

  • Jeanette Murray July 6, 2017 at 11:43 am

    I paid dearly for my retirement when with student loans and little pay my checks each month left me almost living in poverty. Now that I am retired, I am not able to collect any Social Security off my husband’s income and have to pay $400.00 every three months for my Part B Medicare! Paying any extra will end up a disaster for my survival. Please take all of this into consideration.

  • John Scott July 6, 2017 at 11:43 am

    I think this is what you get when you vote for a Republican. We need strong lobbyist in Austin and we need an organization that is stronger And not a social network.

  • Deborah Sullivan July 6, 2017 at 11:40 am

    I am angry. We bought our own supplies, paid for extra degrees with no recompense, went to training on weekends & during the summers, called parents on our own time, on & on. Yet, the state hast paid its part. We haven’t had a COLA in 16 years. 16 years!!! We have been betrayed & pushed aside so legislators can say they saved money. Yes, I’m angry.

  • Susan Cawley July 6, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Great article to make people aware of this issue.

  • Nancy Suggs July 6, 2017 at 11:22 am

    I think Texas retired teachers need health care they can actually afford.

  • Rick curlee July 6, 2017 at 11:13 am

    This is a slap in the face to teachers who worked for a low wage for many years to educate our children. Legislators need to fix this. Tell insurance companies if you want trs business, you are going to have to come to the table with better numbers. If legislators can’t fix it, they need to be replaced in next election.

  • Brenda N July 6, 2017 at 11:11 am

    I work in lunchroom. We won’t get that 2k a month for retirement and with the windfall elimination bill we wont get any social security we have paid in. I have my quarters but will probably see none of it. Their is no hope for me. I will lose my home (thank you rising property taxes) and as my health fails with age I will lose my insurance. Thanks for nothing.

  • Vavia Rudd July 6, 2017 at 11:03 am

    I think we are getting short shrifted by our legislators.

  • Carrie Darjean July 6, 2017 at 10:54 am

    This is not fair. We are paying too much for insurance after we served our great state teaching you and your children. We can’t get our husband hard work SS# money’s that we deserve they worked for to help take care of their families if something One happen. If we worked in another profession we can’t even get our SS money we worked for and deserve. So tell me why I even choose this career. Other Students are not choosing the teaching profession because it has no Benefits. This is a disservice to all Teachers in the State. GOD HELP YOU .. You will need it.

  • Carol Nichols July 6, 2017 at 10:54 am

    This is not the teachers fault so they shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences. Our legislatures owe our teachers for not addressing this sooner. Everything they do seems like an attack on public schools & teachers. Fix this now!

  • JGC July 6, 2017 at 10:49 am

    The chief executive of the Teacher Retirement System makes over a million dollars a year. His assistant also makes very close to that. With that kind of salary they should be doing a better job for the retired educators of Texas!!!!! This is an embarrassment for our state!!!! Our legislators should be furious and on top of this. The retired teachers paid into this system for years because Texas teachers are not allowed to be paid full SS benefits that they paid in and teacher retirement. We spent years spending a lot of our own money on our students. We should not be condemned to being paupers in retirement!!! Please do something!!!!

  • Debbie Cleckley July 6, 2017 at 10:41 am

    So very unfair! Worked 27 years helping OTHER people’s children and now won’t be able to live and pay bills monthly because of the premiums of my health insurance. Trusted that my premiums would remain doable! Will definitely be voting differently in the future.

  • Laurie Thorn July 6, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Grandfather those of us who are retired. Let us keep our pension, benefits, and insurance.

  • Anonymous July 6, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Texas Retired Teachers need a better system to ha e health insurance.

  • Laurie Thorn July 6, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Stop playing withTRS. Grandfather those of us who are retired and let us keep our retirement and insurance.

  • Dianne Ashby July 6, 2017 at 10:33 am

    This is outrageous and. criminal. We will all have to go back to work just to pay for health care that is inadequate and overpriced. I guess once again we see how the state values it’s teachers.

  • Nancy Walkup July 6, 2017 at 10:31 am

    We worked long and hard to earn our retirement benefits. It is so wrong to let us down this way.

  • Gayle Akers July 6, 2017 at 10:25 am

    We should get the same health plan as the state employees.

  • Jo Huckaby July 6, 2017 at 10:24 am

    This is so sad. I don’t understand why teachers are the first to get cut whether it is in pay or health care. However, as the cuts are toward the teachers in the trenches ( classrooms) or retired and the upper administration gets substantial raises. I have seen jobs created with lucrative salaries. Where is the justice in all this? To me it looks like greed in the worst way! I do discourage anyone to go into the teaching profession .

  • Mortenson July 6, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Disgusting plan for index 65.

  • [email protected] July 6, 2017 at 10:11 am

    I think this is horrible and I will do my talking in the ballot box!
    Shame on you people!

  • Jeanne Crumley July 6, 2017 at 10:01 am

    I think it is a shame that our legislators and governor are trying to shaft the teachers you spent sooo much of our time and our own money into being more efficient teachers for our students and many times their families!!! You should be embarrassed. Surely there are other programs that could be cut. The fact that the heads of our teacher retirement system are making millions of dollars a year is an insult to us!!!! Thank you for taking this injustice seriously. Insurance premiums going sky high and also reducing our benefits should be an embarrassment to this great state. Thank you

  • Joan Roberts July 6, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Get rid of all Republicans.

  • Cynthia Penny July 6, 2017 at 9:57 am

    So sad the wealthy state of Texas does not value their children and teachers. Gregg Abott and Ted Cruz please revisit and improve Teacher Healthcare. Remove windfall tax for Social Security.

  • carol caveness July 6, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Most retirees cannot afford these premiums, why are educators less needy of coverage than state employees. Those that are still working can afford an increase in premiums much better than those that are retired suffering loss of benefits and increase in deductibles.

  • Dyana Adkins July 6, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Without a cost of living adjustment since my retirement, 13 years, this is absolutely criminal, especially since the legislature has failed to address the state issue in almost two decades. Shameful.

  • Karen Whatley July 6, 2017 at 9:51 am

    I retired in 2014. I work a parttime job already to make “ends” meet. I don’t know what im going to do with these added costs. It is overwhelming.

  • Jay July 6, 2017 at 9:45 am

    This article doesn’t even mention what will happen with the Medicare retirees and their spouses. Spouses premiums will go up three times and both will be hit with a deductible of $500– up from $150. Additional increases if you go into hospital even for one day. And we still have to pay part B! This is going to force spouses to look elsewhere and possibly leave the TRS plan–thus putting more pressure on the system with less participates. Additionally, TRS has eliminated the tiered system that benefits the longer staying retiree with less premiums. The 20 year retiree now pays the same as a 30 year retiree. Shame on TRS!

  • Mary Wheat July 6, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Teacher retirement isn’t that much to afford a high premium . Retired teachers would loose their health care because of the hike in premiums. Our poli u icons need to give up some of their salary and healthcare to help this problem.

  • Cheryl Wilson July 6, 2017 at 9:33 am

    I so wish and am praying that the legislature will finally treat teachers with the dignity they deserve for their dedication to the children of Texas. Please treat teachers as you treat state employees and fund our health insurance as you fund theirs. That’s the only right and moral thing to do. It’s the Christian thing to do!

  • Kathy Rutherford July 6, 2017 at 9:28 am

    I am baffled why teachers get treated like a red headed step child. If other state employees got treated this way they would revolt. So we may need to call our legislatures and let our feelings be known.

  • V. Dunn July 6, 2017 at 9:18 am

    What is the breakdown of the vote to change Teachers Health care benefits ?

  • Nancy H July 6, 2017 at 9:16 am

    There is no way for these amounts to work with what school districts pay NON-ADMINISTRATIVE employees -PERIOD. I know because I am of of them!! 20 yrs and will never be able to retire and have benefits and buy food to eat.
    Explain that to everyone …

  • Lee Fabling July 6, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Tragic situation for those who taught our children and grandchildren. Lord open their eyes to this crisis.

  • Elaine July 6, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Teacher should be included in the state employee health insurance program.

  • Shannon Kopecky July 6, 2017 at 9:00 am

    It’s ridiculous, of course. My mother, who is a retired teacher’s assistant and 68 years old, has to return to part-time work to pay for her and my dad’s insurance. Their premium will go from $225 to $590 a month! She receives less than $900. How are they supposed to live?! I know this might be an unpopular solution, and I’m just looking for answers to assist a system that has FAILED our retired educators, but Texas is one of the few states that does not impose a state income tax. As long as the money does not go to ‘line’ corrupt politicians and special interest groups that are looking out for their own interests, perhaps a state income tax would be the answer. Thank you for your time.

  • Karen Bratsen July 6, 2017 at 8:52 am

    I think TRS retirees should have the same health insurance coverage that other state employees have — for FREE — like the other state employees have! Maybe combine TRS with ERS. Basically, retired teachers deserve as good of, if not better, health insurance benefits & costs than other state employees! Some of us cannot afford to wait another 2 years, for the next election! Something needs to be done NOW, in this next special session that begins on July 18, 2017!

    • Beverly July 9, 2017 at 11:46 am

      Karen, I thought the changes had already been signed into law in June. Austin’s mainstream paper never published an article about changes to TRS Care until July 4, and suddenly it made front page news. It’s still has not been covered on Austin’s news stations. That’s how much people care.

  • Mary Moore July 6, 2017 at 8:49 am

    I wonder why we are placed into the state program. We were after all basicly state employees. The state controls the basic salary scale. They could solve this problem with that simple move.

  • Avis Bean July 6, 2017 at 8:45 am

    I was promised a low cost insurance plan when I become an educator 21 years ago. I am a retiree and draw 1000.00 a month, there is no way I can afford a 3000 dollar deductible unless I have a major catastrophe. I think this is a horrible way to treat the people who educates those who are in power and decides how our educators are treated in Texas.

  • Jackie Stinnett July 6, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Holy Cow! Let’s fix this travesty, quick!!!!