Spring 2016

ATPE News is the official publication of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, the largest educator association in Texas. The magazine addresses the most important issues affecting public education in the state. Learn more at

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24 | atpe news evolved. It's no longer to simply care for children who become sick at school. Gibson educates children, families, and staf about how to manage their health and wellness. "Healthcare costs are astronomical for very poor healthcare plans," says Gibson. "We're lucky that we're in an area with a number of healthcare clinics available to students and their families, but a lot of people still just don't know what services are available." Dawn Martinez is Gibson's colleague, and it's her job to try to bridge the gap as well. She's an employment representative with Houston ISD, and she helps educators select the best plan to ft their budget and personal health situations. The family plans with the best benefts can cost up to $1,600 per month. She says, "When I see someone working full time, 40 hours per week, who can barely aford even basic healthcare insurance, something is wrong." Healthcare and Texas Educators ATPE lobbyist Josh Sanderson ofers perspective on exactly how the ACA afects educators. "At the 30,000 foot level, a lot changed," says Sanderson. "But as it applies to our educators, little or nothing changed. The TRS staf scoured the act and found that all of Texas's plans already met the minimum standard." The two biggest threats to Texas educators are healthcare infation, which began outpacing income long before the ACA was enacted, and the fact that Texas provides inferior funding for educators' healthcare plans. "The state doesn't provide districts with funding for your healthcare at the level of other employers in Texas," says Sanderson. "That's not anecdotal. There's data." Because funding is limited, more and more districts are looking for cost-efective alternatives. "The trend is away from traditional insurance plans to high- deductible plans," says Sanderson. "And this trend started before ACA. It's the cheapest plan, and often, educators can't aford anything else. Unfortunately, with high-deductible plans, many will delay seeking care, because they realize they have to pay out of pocket until they reach their deductible. Now, you've got educators relying more heavily on the school nurse. If we had a better system, people wouldn't be THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AT A GLANCE BENEFITS • Individuals can't be denied coverage based on their medical history. • The healthcare exchange provides individuals with access to a wide range of insurance providers. • Pre-existing conditions are covered. • A person cannot be dropped from insurance coverage because of a change in medical status. • Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Coverage Program (CHIP) for the most economically disadvantaged have been expanded. • Young adults are allowed to remain on their parents' plans until age 26. FLAWS • The new regulations have placed a heavy burden on employers, including ATPE and school districts. • Not all doctors accept patients with coverage provided by the ACA exchange. • Many doctors are opting out of insurance plans because of increased requirements and shrinking reimbursements.

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