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An employee publication of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

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August 2019

86th Legislature expands, strengthens ERS insurance benefits

The 86th Texas Legislature left most Employees Retirement System (ERS) funding and benefits programs unchanged, passing only a few new laws to improve insurance coverage. Retirement plan contribution rates will remain the same, as will premium rates in all Group Benefits Program (GBP) health insurance plans.

Your ERS benefits may be affected by the following legislation:

  • Senate Bill 2224 requires public retirement systems in Texas establish a pension funding policy to maintain solvency and increase financial security. The Board of Trustees adopted a funding policy in May 2018.
  • House Bill 392 authorizes ERS to offer individual long-term care (LTC) insurance, which is currently unavailable through the GBP. This law takes effect September 1, when ERS will begin research to determine which long-term care policies offer the best value.
  • Senate Bill 1264 prohibits certain out-of-network facilities and providers from “balance billing” insurance plan participants for services provided during an emergency or at an in-network facility. Application of this law is complicated, and you should continue to use in-network providers whenever possible. This law will apply to health care services or supplies provided on or after January 1, 2020.
  • House Bill 170 requires GBP health plans to cover diagnostic mammograms at the same benefit level as screening mammograms. This law’s effective date is September 1, 2020.

The complex nature of the “balance billing” and mammogram laws will require further study to determine their impact, and ERS will provide more information as their effective dates approach.

Detailed information about these changing laws can be found on the ERS website.