ERS 2017 Benefits Update

Posted on 2/01/2018

The Employee Retirement System of Texas (ERS) manages the benefits available to current and retired state employees. It completes an annual review of those benefits, and a few highlights are included here.

Pension Fund Actuarial Update
In late 2017, ERS published a review of the employee retirement fund and provided an actuarial update to stakeholders, including TPEA. Here are a few key points:

  • 2017 was a banner year for the stock market with the fund netting $3 billion in investment earnings.
  • Based on decisions made during the 85th Legislative session, the state will continue to contribute 10 percent of payroll to the fund while employees will continue to contribute 9.5 percent.
  • Despite these two positive measures, ERS' actuaries contend the fund will become insolvent by 2084 

Your Health Care Benefits
The Group Benefits Program (GBP) health plans will see the lowest percentage premium increase (under 1 percent) in eight years. This was achieved partly through extensive negotiations with health care providers by our latest third-party administrator BlueCross BlueShield of Texas (BCBST). ERS is working diligently to manage network costs through cost containment measures, including utilization review, to retain the health care benefits we currently enjoy. It is important to note that BCBST is merely the third-party administrator and simply receives a flat management fee regardless of decisions made by the health care providers or the negotiated rates in the plan. For more information on ERS health care benefits, visit the website.

Health Care from the Comfort of Home
Virtual doctor visits are another benefit of the GBP that provide both convenience and cost-efficiency. Those in the HealthSelect of Texas and HealthSelect Out-of-State can utilize this online portal with no copay. For details on the program, visit the ERS virtual visits page.