by: Eryka Villarreal
More than 230,000 Texas retired educators may have to face paying higher premiums for health care insurance and in Hays County, a high percentage of retirees with Texas Retirement System-Care Health Insurance could be facing these risks.
The Texas Senate is crafting a 2-year budget proposal that will fully fund health care for the thousands of retired educators. According to Executive Director of the Texas Retired Teachers Association Tim Lee says if the legislature adjourns without dealing with the funding hole of $768 million shortfall, the retirees will have to pay for more for their premiums.
“In Hays County there are 2,966 annuitants, you’re probably talking about 80-90 percent of these folks are participating in the health insurance,” said Lee. “Nearly all 3,000 of those ppl can see their premiums double if we don’t resolve it before the end of this session.”
Depending on your age, Lee says if you’re over the age of 65 you will qualify for medicare. There are 240,000 people in this health insurance program around the state, 62% qualify for Medicare, but will be at risk of additional financial consequences.
The total amount of premiums the retirees pay every year is about $330 million.
If the legislature doesn’t do anything to put more money into it, the management for health insurance program would go back to their retirees and either cut their benefits, or have to double their premiums just to cover their shortfalls.
This is not the only shortfall they’ve encountered but it is the highest and with the announcement from the Appropriations Committee, Lee says there is a long way to go and questions still need to be resolved.
“What this is telling our members is that they have not been forgotten and John Otto and the members of the Texas House are making retirees a priority to session and hopefully the senate will embrace the same attitude,” said Lee.
Without additional funding, the sustainability of this program is at significant risk.