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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 in the programs if they wish.

Under the old law, if a TRS member or their dependents opted out of TRIP or TRAIL for any reason, they were not allowed to re-enroll, except in very limited circumstances.

TRS members and their dependents who are still otherwise eligible for TRIP and TRAIL 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. The open enrollment period for TRAIL is in the fall of each year.

CMS has determined that when former TRIP and TRAIL members re-enroll, they also will be able to re-enroll their eligible dependents. In addition, dependents can be re-enrolled during a benefit choice period.

Specifically, the new law 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.”