TCTA’s Lonnie Hollingsworth testified on a panel March 30, 2016, at the invitation of the Joint Committee on TRS Health Benefit Plans. The committee was created through legislation passed during the 2015 session to study the sustainability and affordability of both TRS-Care (retiree health insurance) and TRS-ActiveCare.

The March hearing was devoted to TRS-Care. TCTA’s testimony focused on the need for additional funding to ensure the long-term solvency of the retiree health plan, which is predicted to need an infusion of around $1.5 billion by the end of the current budget biennium (August 2017). The legislature shored up the plan by close to $800 million during the 2015 session, and legislators are increasingly concerned about the continually rising costs.

Hollingsworth noted that school retirees are on fixed incomes, and most are not eligible for Social Security benefits, so increasing premiums would be problematic. He also pointed out that other options that have been laid out by TRS in the past, including some that would further limit provider networks, may not provide enough cost savings to the plan to be worth the problems that would be experienced by participants.

The committee meets again April 13, 2016, to discuss TRS-ActiveCare, and TCTA is again an invited panelist at that meeting.