School entities should carefully consider whether opting out of TRS-ActiveCare is the right decision for their organization.
Senate Bill (SB) 1444, passed during the 87th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, made it possible for districts to enter or leave TRS-ActiveCare, the state’s health insurance program. Districts participating in TRS-ActiveCare will be prohibited from offering or making available other group health coverage not provided under ActiveCare to employees or dependents of employees. Once a change is made, the district is bound by that decision for five years; however, districts that remain in ActiveCare have the option to opt out in a future year.
Making a decision
To help inform decision making, districts should request their claims and contribution information from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) so they can analyze the data and track trends. Instructions for requesting the data are available on the TRS website. There is no cost associated with the data request, and the information will be provided within 10 business days after receipt of the request.
For districts that do not have the time or the expertise to analyze their data in-house, a third-party vendor such as TASB Benefits Cooperative can assist with the evaluation and help ensure districts are making the best choice for their employees.
The decision-making process also should include employee feedback. It’s important to find out what employees like about the current health plans and what they feel they are missing. Keeping employees informed and engaged is always important, but especially so during a change. Open communication facilitates employee buy-in and satisfaction.
Districts that decide to make a change to or from TRS-ActiveCare must notify TRS no later than December 31 of the year before the plan year of the change. A timeline for joining and leaving TRS-ActiveCare and additional information regarding TRS-ActiveCare are available on the TRS website.
Sarah James joined HR Services in 2019. Prior to that, she worked at a Central Texas school district for 11 years. She is responsible for managing web content, HR Services articles, HRX newsletter, social media accounts, and marketing efforts.
James has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Concordia University Texas in Austin.
Email Sarah if you have a story idea for the HRX.
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