Updated: September 1, 2018
Issue: A new law signed in August of 2018 allows TRS members and their dependents who have previously opted out of the Teachers' Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) or the Total Retiree Advantage Illinois Medicare plan (TRAIL) to re-enroll during an applicable Benefit Choice Period.
Prior to this law, if a TRS member or his/her dependent opted out of TRIP or TRAIL for any reason, they were not allowed to re-enroll, except in very limited circumstances.
Discussion: Under the new law, former members of TRIP and TRAIL and their dependents that are still eligible for the programs can re-enroll “during any applicable annual open enrollment period” set up by the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS), which administers TRIP and TRAIL. Historically, the open enrollment period for TRIP is in the spring of each year and the open enrollment period for TRAIL is in the fall of each year.
Specifically, the bill says, “A TRS benefit recipient shall not be deemed ineligible to participate (in TRIP or TRAIL) solely by reason of the TRS benefit recipient having made a previous election to disenroll (sic) or otherwise not participate in the program of health benefits.”
TRS is working with the Department of Central Management Services on the details and schedules needed to implement this law.