State Rep. Terry Canales pushes for better teacher retirement

More than a quarter million retired teachers and public school employees are struggling under the health insurance program for retired teachers and employees, Teacher Retirement Systems Care or TRS-care. State Representative Terry Canales has sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott, urging him to call a special legislative session in order to attempt to fix the issue.

More than a quarter million retired teachers and public school employees are struggling under the health insurance program for retired teachers and employees, Teacher Retirement Systems Care or TRS-care. State Representative Terry Canales has sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott, urging him to call a special legislative session in order to attempt to fix the issue.

On January 1, changes impacting 270,000 TRS-care participants went into effect. The changes offered no zero-dollar premium option for retirees, higher deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs.

Recently retired teacher Rosalva Reyna of La Joya is one of those educators under TRS-care who is struggling with the changes.

"It's going to be a while before I can see my medical doctors, until I am able to pay the $1,500," said Reyna. "Then, I’ll go back to my regular visits that I need to go to."

Reyna added if nothing is done, she sees herself returning to work so she can afford her doctors visits and medication.

"Many of our faculty members are not going to be able to retire at the date they had planned because of the dastardly health benefit cost," said McAllen American Federation of Teachers president and retired teacher also under TRS-care Ruth Skow.

"Actually what I’m seeing is folks are not retiring, they are just going to wait until things get better," added La Joya American Federation of Teachers staff representative and retired teacher J.J. Luna.. "Or, they reach 65 when they are eligible for Medicare."

During the 2017 legislative session, there was a temporary fix to save TRS-care from collapsing.

"The last time we were there we put a band aid on it," said Canales. "I think we injected $500 million. It was something, but we knew then that, that wasn’t going to solve the problem."

Now, Canales and educators are wanting a permanent fix to the failing insurance program.

Canales adds anyone wanting to see changes can call or write their local representatives or the governor.


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