Retired Texas teachers leaving state health plan

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Thousands of retired Texas teachers are abandoning the health insurance program the state created for them, a concerning move for a health care system that faces a $700 million funding shortfall.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that about 7,800 retirees are requesting to leave the health insurance program housed under the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. Health officials say the number of requests to opt out of the program has been about 1,500 or less per year in the past.

The wave of requests to leave the health plan threatens to worsen the program’s budget woes and could mean higher costs to retired teachers down the road.

Tim Lee is the executive director of the Texas Retired Teachers Association. He says many retirees are leaving the program because it’s become too