TRS ActiveCare: Should You Stay or Go? (Part 1)

This article (Part 1 of a 2-part series) from TASB Benefits Cooperative provides some best practices to follow when seeking out the best solution for your district’s unique healthcare needs. TASB’s First Public, a TASBO Strategic Partner, administers the TASB Benefits Cooperative.

Should you stay, or go? What to consider when thinking of leaving TRS-ActiveCare.

We hear you, and know that it's not always easy to make the decision to leave TRS-ActiveCare – a program you've been with for so long – but dozens of school districts have already made that choice after a change in state law in 2021 that allows school districts to opt-out of the state health plan.

But how do you know whether the right decision is to stay in TRS-ActiveCare or leave? Here are some best practices to follow when seeking out the best solution for your district’s unique healthcare needs.

• Do the math.

TRS is required to provide districts with their contribution/claims information, so districts should take a deep dive into that data and chart the trends. If contributions are greater than claims, there may be more cost-effective benefit solutions.

• Understand the risks of being self-funded.

Districts that leave TRS-ActiveCare need to be prepared to weather the possible consequences, including unbudgeted expenses.

• Be careful about the administrative burden related to a self-funded medical plan.

Expect additional work regarding approving related expenses with claims, prescription drugs, and a district-sponsored clinic if applicable.

• Get employee feedback before making any decision.

Survey employees about what they like or don’t like about the current health plans, including available prescription coverage. Authentic employee feedback is essential BEFORE a decision is made.

• Keep employees informed and engaged.

If a district is moving out of TRS-ActiveCare, regular employee communication is key. Some districts have been experimenting with a May open enrollment period before teachers go off contract to engage them before the summer break.

• Be transparent about the costs of health insurance.

Regardless of whether a district stays in TRS-ActiveCare or decides to leave, employees should be aware of the rising costs of health insurance and how those expenses are shared among the state, the district, and the employee.

Ready to dive in? Contact TASB Benefits Cooperative for a free analysis to help make this important decision.


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