Plannin​g Ahead

The Classroom Teacher, summer 2013

If you followed the news of the 2013 legislative session, you know a lot of changes were made to TRS retirement and health insurance, but changes from the 2011 session will also soon go into effect. Here is what you need to know to plan ahead for the next few years. The changes described below will affect all TRS members. See our TRS Retirement Flowchart to determine if the change to the minimum retirement age of 62 will affect you.

Cost of service credit to rise Sept. 1

Changes in law during the 2011 legislative session increased the costs of purchasing certain types of TRS service credit. The law provided a transition period to allow employees time to begin purchasing credit, if eligible, but that window closes Sept. 1, 2013.

If you are eligible to buy TRS credit for any of the following types of service, begin that process now to avoid paying the higher costs that will go into effect in September 2013:

  • withdrawn service (if you left employment for a period and took out your accumulated TRS contributions)
  • unreported service or compensation
  • substitute service (if you substitute-taught for at least 90 days in a school year)
  • out-of-state service
  • developmental leave

You must either make the payment in full or enter into an installment agreement with TRS by Aug. 31, 2013. Download the TRS Service Credit Brochure for details, including how costs are calculated.

Contributions to increase in 2014

All employees’ contributions to the TRS pension fund will increase in fall 2014. The current contribution rate, which extends through the 2013-14 school year, is 6.4 percent of salary. The new rates will be: 6.7 percent beginning in fall 2014; 7.2 percent in fall 2015; and 7.7 percent in fall 2016. See TCTA's TRS contributions chart for member, state and district contribution percentages through 2016-17.

ActiveCare premiums to rise in 2013

The TRS Board of Trustees approved increases in ActiveCare premiums for the 2013-14 school year, ranging from 9 to 25 percent, depending on the level of coverage chosen. Individuals enrolled in local plans or in HMOs are likely to see different premium changes, and may also experience benefit changes. If you are enrolled in TRS-ActiveCare or an HMO, you can find more information on the TRS website. You'll also find 2013-14 rate information in TCTA's health insurance overview.

ActiveCare options changing

A bill from the 2013 session eliminated the requirement that districts provide insurance comparable to that provided to state employees. Districts must still provide access to insurance — either through TRS-ActiveCare or a local plan — but they do not have to offer a “rich benefit” version comparable to the state employee plan.

The ActiveCare 3 coverage (state employee comparable) had become almost prohibitively expensive, with most employees forced to choose either ActiveCare 1 or 2 for cost reasons. But many employees who require comprehensive coverage for themselves or family members could be negatively affected by the loss of this option.

The TRS Board has not yet made the decision to eliminate ActiveCare 3, so we do not know whether this change will affect coverage options for the 2013-14 school year.

Curious what your annual TRS annuity might be?

Find out how to calculate your TRS benefits.