I Almost Got a Pay Raise This Year!!!

Beginning September 1, 2002 employees in school districts with fewer than 500 employees were eligible to participate in the new state wide health insurance program. The program would be operated through Teacher Retirement System (TRS).

The state established a monthly contribution towards the premiums of $225 [$150 from the local district and $75 from the state]. In 2013, approaching 2014, the monthly contribution is STILL $225.  Each year the employee contribution increases but the state and local contributions remains the same.

According to the 2013-14 TRS PPO Rate Table, the following are the increases from 2012-13 to 2013-14.  I added the dollar amount and percentage of increase.

TRS-ActiveCare 1HD

Gross Monthly Premium Before State and District Contributions
Coverage Tier 2012-2013 Plan Year 2013-2014 Plan Year

Dollar Amount Increase

Percentage Increase

Employee only

$298.00

$325.00

$26.00

8.72%

Employee and Spouse

$731.00

$794.00

$63.00

8.61%

Employee and Child(ren)

$466.00

$572.00

$106.00

22.75%

Employee and Family

$957.00

$1060.00

$103.00

10.76%

TRS-ActiveCare 2

Gross Monthly Premium Before State and District Contributions
Coverage Tier 2012-2013 Plan Year 2013-2014 Plan Year

Dollar Amount Increase

Percentage Increase

Employee only

$460.00

$529.00

$69.00

15.00%

Employee and Spouse

$1046.00

$1,203.00

$157.00

15.00%

Employee and Child(ren)

$731.00

$841.00

$110.00

15.05%

Employee and Family

$1,150.00

$1,323.00

$173.00

15.05%

TRS-ActiveCare 3

Gross Monthly Premium Before State and District Contributions
Coverage Tier 2012-2013 Plan Year 2013-2014 Plan Year

Dollar Amount Increase

Percentage Increase

Employee only

$637.00

$796.00

$159

24.96%

Employee and Spouse

$1448.00

$1,810

$362.00

25.00%

Employee and Child(ren)

$1015.00

$1269.00

$254.00

25.00%

Employee and Family

$1592.00

$1990.00

$398.00

25.00%

If my pay raise is 3% and my insurance increases 15%, then I am will take home less money this year than I did last year.

I would like to thank Dr. James Hockenberry, Superintendent of Schools for Center ISD for providing me with some historical data. Below is a comparison from 2003-2004 to 2013-2014.

There was not an Active Care-1 HD in 2003-2004

Active Care -1 is being discontinued in 2013-2014

Here is the comparison for Active Care -2

TRS-ActiveCare 2

Gross Monthly Premium Before State and District Contributions
Coverage Tier 2003-2004 Plan Year 2013-2014 Plan Year

Dollar Amount Increase

Percentage Increase

Employee only

$331.00

$529.00

$198.00

59.81%

Employee and Spouse

$753.00

$1,203.00

$450.00

59.76%

Employee and Child(ren)

$527.00

$841.00

$314.00

59.58%

Employee and Family

$828.00

$1,323.00

$495.00

59.78%

Over a ten year period, rates have increased an average of 6%. When you compare that with raises that are usually 3% or less then each year teachers are taking home relatively the same or less money.

Here is the comparison for Active Care -3

TRS-ActiveCare 3

Gross Monthly Premium Before State and District Contributions
Coverage Tier 2003-2004 Plan Year 2013-2014 Plan Year

Dollar Amount Increase

Percentage Increase

Employee only

$419.00

$796.00

$377.00

89.97%

Employee and Spouse

$952.00

$1,810

$858.00

90.12%

Employee and Child(ren)

$667.00

$1269.00

$602.00

90.25%

Employee and Family

$1047.00

$1990.00

$943.00

90.06%

Over a ten year period, rates have increased an average of 9%. At the speed at which these rates have increased it seems like the plan administrators are discouraging anyone from being a part of this plan.

Not included in this data is the increased cost of co-pays, prescriptions, prescription deductibles, and family deductibles. This has become a very expensive plan for educators. What started off as a positive benefit for educators is quickly very expensive. It is time for the state to up their contribution to the program so that the program will be more affordable.

David R. Taylor

27-year Teacher, Coach and Principal

Follow-up Article

https://davidrtayloreducation.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/i-almost-got-a-pay-raise-year-the-follow-up/

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22 Responses to I Almost Got a Pay Raise This Year!!!

  1. Mike says:

    If you look at the premium portion that the employee has to pay, unless the district has added to their contribution (and some have) the increase percentages are far worse.

  2. Great post. I wrote a letter to the Waco Tribune-Herald that was published on March 2 that further made the point:
    “So TRS (Texas Teacher Retirement System) on Feb. 20 announced the rates for school employee health insurance for the 2013 to 2014 school year. The rate for the cheapest plan for an employee to cover his or her family will cost $835 per month out-of-pocket. That is more than $10,000 per year. Ironically, I went to the ERS (Employees Retirement System) website and found that any state employee, like a state legislator, could purchase basically the exact same coverage for his family for $449 per month, or $5,388 per year. So teachers have to pay about $4,600 more per year than a state senator. Is that fair?”

  3. John Spies says:

    The employee contribution has basically tripled.

  4. Howard Sonner says:

    This is not an issue that is only affecting the education world. People that work in private business are dealing with this same issue too. Some are dealing with far more drastic health cost increases with minimal salary increases or even salary cuts.

    • drext727 says:

      Yes, you are correct. The big difference that teachers money is from public money when has a limit. Private businesses make their decisions based on their profit margins. If it will hurt their profits, then they will chose profit over their employees. Thanks for the comments.

  5. Evelyn Peoples says:

    Well folks, I am 62 and want to retire. I am fully vested in Social Security but because I am soooo important to society I will only get a prorated share. Instead of $1850 a month I will be blessed with $440. I love feeling so very special. We just keep on giving don’t we? Wonder when my brothers and sisters in education will wake up and demand all that is due us? And now, because we are so special, we will be paying even higher health care premiums.

    How did I get to be so appreciated?

    • drext727 says:

      Evelyn… You’re correct. Teachers as a whole are a bunch of sheep. We just do what we are told and take the mistreatment. A few years back when they closed the loophole that allowed educators to work one day in a district that paid social security. They closed it so tight that we are now penalized. I will be 50 this year with 25 years of service. In 3 years I will meet the rule of 80 and have a decision to make. I have young children at home to think about.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

  6. Daniel says:

    Let’s see… $5,004 for annual med benefits in 2008, and 12,224 in 2013. Yet, our districts give a token raise to keep up with neighboring districts. So, on paper the district looks good, and it should keep moral from faltering. Opposite effect once employees realize that we are getting a NEGATIVE pay decrease after all is said and done. When my family and I moved to our home, we did not economically budget a SEVEN THOUSAND dollar increase in out of pocket expense for health care!!! So, now we are being forced to move from our dream home just to ensure that future inflation and premium increases do not further erode our ability to send kids to college and put extra money aside for retirement. This is a load of bullarky. We need a new movement to get districts to allocate more $$$$ to assist these increases in health care premiums. Once inflation hits the fan, we are all inserious trouble. These few posts here are not mainstream enough to get the word out. We are going to work more for less unless we stand up and say “no more”. Any comments? Get people involved and go to school board meetings and make your voice heard!!

  7. Daniel says:

    By the way, I know that people are slowly starting to wake up to this new reality, because my co-workers are all on board with this fleecing…

    • drext727 says:

      I agree with everything you said except it is not the districts that need to up their input. It is the Little Ricky and his band of brain dead legislators that haven’t increase the state’s contribution since the program began.

  8. Daniel says:

    Is there a reason why blue cross blue shield is the ONLY option that we have? If so, WHY? Where is the free market system for business if that indeed is the mantra for Texas? I guess I am a little late to the dance because I have never found this information nor has someone shared the reasons or enlightened me as to why…

    • drext727 says:

      I don’t have an official answer to that other than TRS is lazy and doesn’t want to actually go to the effort to submit it for bids again. The second possible reason is that BCBS is the insurance carried by all other non-educator state employees. The same insurance for about 60% of the cost. Because we are educators it must means that we must continue to be taken advantage of until the point where no one wants to be an educator.

  9. Daniel says:

    No company can out (lower) bid BC/BS? Seems hard to believe

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