by Cole Hentschel, TASB Benefits Cooperative
Health insurance is one of the most important benefits districts provide to their employees. That’s why selecting a provider is so important. With legislation passed last year, districts now have more options when it comes to their insurance.
Answers to these frequently asked questions cover the basics of school districts’ new choices for health coverage.
What is SB 1444?
Senate Bill (SB) 1444 allows school districts to enter or leave the state’s health insurance program, TRS- (Teacher Retirement System of Texas) ActiveCare. However, districts must commit to remaining either in or out of the program for five years after making a change.
The law requires that districts in TRS-ActiveCare must have all eligible employees in the program.
How soon can my district make a change?
The deadline for making changes for the 2022-23 school year has passed. However, your district has options for the following school year.
What action does my district need to take to stay in TRS-ActiveCare?
Districts that are currently in the program do not need to act if they want to stay in the program.
What action does my district need to take to leave TRS-ActiveCare?
If your district wants to change to a different provider, it can do so starting September 1, 2023. The district must provide written notice to TRS by December 31, 2022.
What action does my district need to take to join TRS-ActiveCare?
Districts that do not currently participate in TRS-ActiveCare but want to join may do so starting September 1, 2023. Your district must provide written notice to TRS by December 31, 2022.
What if my district wants to offer an alternative medical plan alongside TRS-ActiveCare?
Effective September 1, 2022, if you offer TRS-ActiveCare you can no longer offer your employees other medical plans.
Who can I contact if I have questions?
Deciding to make a change to your district’s health insurance can be a complicated decision. We’re here to help. Contact us today with questions or to learn more about the TASB Benefits Cooperative’s health benefit options. Additionally, TRS has provided Guidance for Employers.