The TRS Board of Directors is holding its July meeting Thursday and Friday (July 15 and 16). A significant portion of the Board’s agenda involves responding to legislation passed during the 2021 regular session. Click here and scroll down to “Teacher Retirement System” for information on those bills.

Over the next several weeks, the TRS staff will publish and accept comments on proposed new rules and revisions to implement legislation that made significant changes to laws, particularly those regarding employment after retirement and TRS’s administration of ActiveCare health insurance. The Board will consider and vote on the new and amended rules at a meeting in the fall.

A change in how TRS calculates premiums for ActiveCare could result in lower rates for some members. TRS staff for years have discussed the possibility of regional ratings (as opposed to premiums that are the same throughout the state) to take advantage of potential savings in areas where health care costs are lower than average, such as in parts of South Texas.

One of the changes made during the legislative session creates a new need for regional premiums in order to avoid significant losses in ActiveCare enrollment. SB 1444 allows districts to leave ActiveCare if they want to provide a local plan instead. If TRS is not able to compete with those districts that are able to take advantage of the lower local costs, more districts will leave to provide cheaper plans for their employees. Staff hope to present specific recommended premiums to the Board before the end of 2021.

TRS continues to work on opening a new regional office in El Paso to better accommodate members in that part of the state who prefer to meet with benefits counselors face to face. The hope is to open the office by the end of next spring. If successful, the agency may open more regional offices in other areas of Texas that are far from Austin.