California Teachers See Reduced Health Benefits, Survey Finds
Thousands of California's retired teachers during the last several years have seen health care benefits reduced or eliminated, according to a survey by the California State Teachers' Retirement System, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Health care coverage for teachers in California is provided separately through the 1,110 individual school districts.
CalSTRS on Thursday in Rancho Cucamonga presented the survey to the state Public Employee Post-Employment Benefits Commission (Chan, Sacramento Bee, 6/1).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in December 2006 signed an executive order to create the 12-member commission following new federal accounting rules that require public agencies, including school districts, to disclose unfunded health care and pension liabilities for current and future retirees.
The commission by Jan. 1, 2008, will offer proposals to the governor and Legislature (California Healthline, 5/8).
In his presentation of the survey, Jack Ehnes, CEO of CalSTRS, highlighted findings that:
- The percentage of school districts covering the cost of health benefits for retirees after age 65 decreased from 22% in 2003 to 14% in 2006; and
- The percentage of teachers who paid for their own health insurance, including supplemental Medicare coverage, increased from 40% in 2003 to 62% in 2006.
The average retirement age for California teachers is 61, forcing those teachers without health benefits to pay for all health care costs until they become eligible for Medicare at age 65.
CalSTRS has created a special task force to consider proposals to create a statewide employer health benefits pool and reduce the financial strain of health care costs on retired teachers (Sacramento Bee, 6/1).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.