The Teacher Retirement System of Texas is offering a one-time grace period for retired educators to re-enroll in its TRS-Care program.
The system saw an abnormal drop in users last year due to an increase in premiums.
Under TRS plan rules, retirees and dependents who terminate coverage cannot return to TRS-Care unless they experience a rare special enrollment event. However, TRS says it understands that there may be some individuals who did not wish to leave TRS-Care, or who now wish to reverse their decision and re-enroll.
"While some retirees maintained their decision to leave TRS-Care, other retirees contacted us to return to the plan after exploring coverage in the individual market," said TRS spokeswoman Rhonda Price.
It's especially difficult for former teachers on Medicare with a dependent spouse. For those who meet these requirements, the average monthly premium for their plan will jump from $230 to $529.
"The grace period is a limited, one-time opportunity. TRS does not permit retirees to return to the plan to avoid adverse selection. Adverse selection results in high plan costs when the healthiest members leave a richer benefit plan for less expensive coverage–more costly members remain in the plan, driving up plan costs," said Price.
"If TRS allowed for open enrollment or other special enrollment periods, the plan would risk becoming unaffordable," said Price.