The Teacher Retirement Board held a call-in Board of Directors meeting on January 11, 2018. At this meeting the Board approved a new “base plan” for retiree medical benefits that will be effective July 1st, 2018. The new base plan will be a fully insured, Medicare Advantage PPO administered by Anthem. All Connecticut hospitals and most CT physicians participate in the program. The monthly premium will be lower than the current Medicare Supplement program administered by Stirling Benefits.
All members of the current program will be automatically enrolled in the new base plan on July 1, 2018. Retirees will be given the opportunity to re-enroll in the current Medicare Supplement administered by Stirling by “buying up.” Details about how to re-enroll are not yet available.
More information about the plan, including benefits and rates, should be available after January 18 – the date of the first scheduled retiree communication meeting. The American Federation of Teachers, the Association of Retired Teachers of Connecticut, and the Connecticut Education Association - Retired, are all expected to provide communications about the new plan. Please consider joining at least one of these organizations to learn more about the new base plan, your option to stay with Stirling and other issues pertinent to retired CT certified staff.
"My husband retired from IBM. His retirement package offered insurance, but we chose Stirling Benefits over that. The customer service is wonderful and I can see any doctor I want to. I have doctors that cater to me and my husband that don’t accept any Medicare Advantage plan.
– Jane Sachs, TRB/Stirling Benefits - Member since August 2004
Frequently Asked Questions
At the November Board meeting, Dr. Fields, the consultant for the Board, said that the new two year CT budget underfunds the TRB health plan by around $50M. He noted that the current plan is not sustainable without changes or additional funding from other sources.
The TRB cannot just raise the retiree contribution to make up the difference. There is language that prohibits the TRB from raising retiree contributions above one third of the cost of the medical “base plan.” Since the state has not budgeted its one third share, one way to maintain the current program is to charge the retirees that choose the traditional plan more. To do that, the TRB has to offer a new, less expensive “base Plan.” The current plan would become a “buy up” option.
New rates cannot be known until the TRB approves a new plan and after negotiations with the successful bidder.
Medicare Advantage programs are typically operated by a for-profit insurance company. Members of an MA plan "trade-in" traditional Medicare, and the government pays the insurance company a percentage of what Medicare would to pay for that member. The insurance company makes a profit when the carrier spends less on claims then they receive in premiums.
Stirling Benefits is not an insurance company. Our goal is the prompt, accurate, courteous and cost effective administration of the benefits provided by the TRB retiree program.
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Wishing all retired teachers the best of health and happiness in retirement.
James Stirling, CEO
Stirling Benefits, Inc.