Health Care Coverage Worsens for Retired Educators, Teachers Pension Chief Reports

News release

 Sacramento, CA  – Jack Ehnes, CalSTRS chief executive officer, today reported California’s retired teachers have less financial help from their employers for their health care coverage than just three years ago. In testimony before the Public Employee Post-Employment Benefits Commission, Ehnes reported on results of the second health benefits survey done by California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS).

Key findings of the recent survey include:

  • 86 percent of California’s 1,114 school districts do not pay for health care coverage for CalSTRS retirees after age 65, an increase from 78 percent in the 2003 survey
  • This 86 percent of school districts represents 62 percent of the state’s retired public school educators
  • 19 percent of the survey respondents provide no subsidies for health care coverage for any retired educator
  • School districts reported one way they plan to reduce future employer costs is to impose higher co-payments on their employees

“Our survey highlights the dire straits many of California’s teachers find once they leave the classroom,” said Ehnes. “With health care benefits negotiated at the local level, access to affordable health care varies substantially statewide. Teachers are vital in building California’s future and they deserve better.”

Ehnes outlined the current CalSTRS survey results in a presentation on retiree health care costs and reported CalSTRS will conduct its third health care benefits survey in 2009.

“CalSTRS will continue to advocate for practical solutions to health care problems facing California’s public school educators,” said Ehnes. “Any solution requires credible information from a trusted source and we’re here to help fill that role with our health benefits surveys.”

With a $167.8 billion investment portfolio, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System is the second-largest public pension fund in the United States. It provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to California’s 795,000 public school educators and their families.