TRS Care Participants and Medigap Options

The premiums for TRS Care, a healthcare service for retired Texas teachers, may be dramatically increasing over the next few months. This is largely due to the proposed budget cuts the organization experienced during the first draft of the Texas budget meeting on March 28th. Many TRS Participants are looking to Medicare and Medigap options for lower premiums and outstanding coverage.

The TRS Care representatives presented their budget proposal, but it was completely shot down in favor of a much lower budget. For years, this healthcare coverage organization has been operating in the red, receiving less money from the state of Texas and not being able to make up their costs. If the first draft of the budget that was discussed at the end of March becomes anything close to reality, then that could mean serious changes for the TRS Care premiums.

The organization would not have any choice but to increase premiums to make up for the lack of funds. The budget cuts are so severe that industry experts are already predicting the premiums could go as high as double or triple what they are now.

Why TRS Care Subscribers Are Worried

Nothing definite has happened yet. All of this is simple extrapolation and prediction, since the actual final draft of the budget has not yet occurred and no price changes have been announced. Still, it’s safe to assume that if the proposed budget does go through, then there will be some serious changes to the rates. Even if they only increase to twice of what they are now, many subscribers will have to drop them.

 

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The current average price of a TRS care plan is around $450. An increase up to about $1,000 would price it out of a lot of people’s budgets. Keep in mind that these are retirees, and much of the money they have to make do with comes from their pension. They don’t really have a way of earning more money at that age, and that means they have to carefully budget what they do have. Many of them are just barely getting by as it is. If the rates were to increase so dramatically, it could mean that they would have to drop TRS care completely.

If they do, they are not allowed to sign up for it again. They will likely turn to Medicare and its supplement plans to cover their medical expenses. This plan can be much cheaper than the proposes TRS Care premium increases, so it could be a good deal for them.

In many cases, Medicare and its supplement plans are even cheaper than the current TRS care rates, but that’s only for the lower coverage plans.

What Medicare Offers

With a Medicare plan, the subscriber would get some standard coverage that will take care of a lot of their expenses. On top of that, they can sign up for a medical supplement plan, which they usually qualify for if they qualify for the basic plan. These supplemental plans add some more coverage onto the base plan and can be a great way to take care of those lingering medical expenses.

There are almost a dozen different Medicare supplement plans to choose from, so it could take people a while to look through them all and determine if what they have to offer is right for them. Instead of going through each one individually, let’s look at some of the high profile and more popular plans.

TRS Care Participants and Medigap OptionsThe one that most people gravitate toward is Plan G. This Medicare supplement plan, or Medigap plan, can fill in a lot of the gaps that the base Medicare plans leaves for its subscribers to pay. That includes expenses such as pints of blood, deductibles, co-payments, excess charges, hospital room expenses, nursing care coinsurance and more. All that is covered under a relatively inexpensive rate. The average hovers somewhere around $125 per month. That’s extensive coverage for what is a reasonable price, and its far less than what someone would pay for those TRS Care premiums if and when they increase.

The only major expense that someone would likely have to pay out of their own pockets with Plan G is for the Medicare Part B deductible. This is $183, and it would only be required from time to time. Of course, the more frequently that person visits the hospital, the more likely they are to have to pay that charge.

That’s why they may want to be covered by Medicare Supplement Plan F. This supplementary plan is a full coverage one, and it only costs a bit more than Plan G. It covers not only that $183 deductible but also every other supplemental expense there is. If there are any medical expenses left over to pay, they should be very few and very small. This plan is a good deal for anyone who needs extensive coverage.

What the Medicare supplement plans offer is an alternative to the TRS care plans. Lots of retired Texas teachers are going to be looking for a reusable substitute for their current plans soon, in all likelihood. Many of them have their spouse and family members covered under the TRS care plan right now. The people will need coverage as well, and it makes sense to choose a more stable plan that doesn’t rely on funding from a single state.

Medicare supplement plans are widely available and are able to be used in any US state. Anyone who is of eligible age (65) should be able to sign up for them. They might have to cancel other coverage plans, such as TRS Care, that may have overlapping coverage.

They can purchase these plans not from Medicare itself but from private insurance companies. It’s best if they do some shopping around though, before they decide on a provider for their plan. They will find that each provider has different prices on the same plans and the same coverage. It is in their best interests to find the cheapest price they can.  If you’re a TRS Participant for the Texas Teacher’s Retirement System you owe it to yourself to view all your Medicare, Medigap, and Medicare Supplement Plans and insurance options.

 

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