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MONEY MAY: Some Southeast Texas teachers will not see increase in insurance premiums due to federal funds

The news comes at a key time because many school districts are struggling to keep teachers.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Federal COVID-19 relief funds are going into the pockets of Southeast Texas teachers.

Teachers across Southeast Texas were expecting to see an increase in their health insurance premiums in 2022, but that is no longer the case. It was a welcomed relief for many teachers who were expecting the price hike in September.

The news comes at a key time because many school districts are struggling to keep teachers. Gov. Greg Abbott allocated COVID-19 relief money to help.

“No school districts that participate in TRS active care would experience an increase,” Katrina Daniel, chief healthcare officer of Teacher Retirement Systems of Texas, said.

Gov. Greg Abbott is allocating $435 million to TRS active care. That is the health insurance arm of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.

Abbott said in part that, "our teachers are fundamental in building brighter futures for the next generation of Texans, and it is imperative that they have access to healthcare so they can continue developing our state's most valuable asset: our kids.”

Daniel said Southeast Texas was one of two regions across the state that were expected to see an increase in insurance premiums.

“The two highest cost areas of the state, Fort Worth and Beaumont, will see no increase across any of their plans,” Daniel said. “In fact, depending on the plan the member participates in they may even see a small decrease in their premiums.”

There are about 1,200 Texas school districts. Of those, 1,100 participate in active care. In Southeast Texas, all districts except the Beaumont Independent School District participate.

Daniel hopes this will be an added incentive for new teachers.

“We know that public education attracts families and often young families, and so yes, lowering the amount that they have to pay out of pocket for health care costs just increases the amount of their paycheck that stays in their pocket,” Daniel said.

According to Daniel, the reason Southeast Texas teachers would have seen an increase in their premiums is because of experience, age, and risk of the participants in this area.

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