If the legislature does not adequately support the Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund, the fund’s instability and potential for insolvency will continue. That’s what CEA Retirement Specialist Robyn Kaplan-Cho told members of the legislature’s Appropriations Committee at a hearing this week.
“This pattern of merely funding enough of the cost to keep the fund afloat for the next few years is simply short-sighed and fiscally unsound,” Kaplan-Cho said.
The Retired Teachers’ Health Insurance Fund (RTHIF) provides a subsidy to retired teachers that covers a portion of their health insurance costs. The fund is sustained primarily by contributions from active and retired teachers, but the state is also supposed to contribute 33 percent of the cost.
The governor’s proposed budget for the next two fiscal years only provides approximately 15 percent of the cost.
South Windsor teacher and State Teachers’ Retirement Board (STRB) Vice Chair Bill Myers told the Appropriations Committee, “I have contributed some $22,500 to the fund. I’ve never skipped a year, let alone two in my contributions.”
This year it’s particularly important year that the state provide its full contribution. Kaplan-Cho explained that the STRB has convened a work group to try to create a long-term solution to the RTHIF’s unfunded liability, however in order to take the steps necessary to move towards a solution, the RTHIF must be funded at the statutorily required level this year.
“When I retire, I expect the fund to be there for me,” Myers said. “37,000 other active teachers expect it to be there for them also.”