I am a retired Texas teacher and I am turning 65 this October. I am absolutely mortified by the TRS changes that I am hearing through the grapevine.
My doctor is not accepting Humana Medicare Advantage and I am concerned about future health issues. I have called TRS and they have advised me that I can opt out of the TRS Medicare Advantage plan for October when I turn 65 and enroll in TRS with Original Medicare, but will be enrolled in the TRS Humana Medicare Advantage plan beginning January 1, 2018 when TRS stops the Original Medicare and Aetna group plan.
I expressed that I really want Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement and TRS said my other option is to cancel the TRS-Care Insurance plan and I will no long be a part of the TRS-Care insurance program. By doing this, I will totally lose being able to return to TRS-Care Insurance.
I have just received my cancellation form and I cannot believe what I must do to get out of the TRS-Care system. Please explain what my Medicare options are. Will I lose my teacher pension?
Sally from Pearland, TX
No…you will not lose your TRS retirement pension if you decide to cancel and leave your TRS-Care insurance program.
Many of the TRS teachers and retired employees are concerned with their Medicare options and need to understand what the changes with TRS are.
TRS does not want their retirees to know about how to cancel their TRS insurance plan or that the option is even available. Recently, a TRS retiree who did not want the TRS Humana Medicare Advantage plan learned his only option to not pay extra for the TRS-Care plan was to cancel the TRS plan.
He chose Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement, and was informed by a TRS customer service rep that TRS did not make this option readily available and this person really was not to let TRS retirees know about it.
He forwarded me the cancellation form and I can understand why many TRS retirees would be concerned about making this decision. TRS is doing everything the system can to keep as many retirees in their TRS-Care plan as possible.
Imagine how many TRS retirees are paying either $70+ for TRS-Care 2 or $100+ for TRS-Care 3 and not using the plan. Come January 1, 2018, those retirees will automatically be enrolled in the TRS-Care Humana Medicare Advantage plan and not be aware of that change.
The cancellation form is dated and one must give their reason for cancelling. (You do not have to have TRS’s permission to cancel the policy) In my opinion, this is a scare tactic to make you wonder if you should cancel.
To make this process more complicated, TRS wants the form notarized and mailed back within 14 days of the date printed on the form or the effective date is the next month.
Sally, since you are turning 65 in October, you are in the 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment period and can qualify for any Medicare Supplement without having to answer health questions.
For those past 65 who have been enrolled in Medicare Part B longer than 6 months, other Medicare guarantee issue rules will apply. You will need a termination notice from TRS that you have left the plan if you cannot answer health questions to qualify for a Medicare Supplement.