Health and Welfare Programs
Texas Employees Group Benefits Program (GBP)
The Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) is the administrator for the GBP, which provides health & welfare benefits to its participants. GBP participants are employees of state agencies and certain higher education entities, their dependents and retirees.
Health & Welfare Programs
The Benefit Contracts Division at ERS is responsible for contracting with health, dental, life, disability carriers, and third-party administrators to provide coverage for GBP participants and administer such coverage throughout the State of Texas. Our current programs include:
- HealthSelect of Texas
HealthSelect is one of the health insurance plans for the State of Texas employees and retirees can choose. The plan offers three benefit levels – in-area network, in-area non-network, and out-of-area. The benefit level depends on where employees live or work, the doctors and providers they use, or their eligibility for Medicare. HealthSelect includes basic term life insurance.
- HealthSelect Prescription Drug Plan (PDP)
HealthSelect coverage includes a comprehensive Prescription Drug Program.
- HealthSelect Medicare Rx
Silverscript Insurance Company manages the Medicare retiree drug coverage.
- Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
As of May 2015, ERS Board of Trustees approved to add an additional HMO. As of September 1, 2015, Community Health Choice, Inc. will begin providing coverage to our members in the 5-county service areas which include Brazoria, Ft. Bend, Galveston, Harris and Montgomery counties. In addition, the GBP also offers the current two (2) HMOs that provides coverage for our members; in the San Antonio area and Central Texas areas. Eight counties are covered in San Antonio and 44 counties are covered in the Central Texas region.
- Medicare Advantage – Health Maintenance Organizations (MA HMOs)
KelseyCare Advantage Plan provides health to Medicare-enrolled retirees, surviving spouses, and their dependents who are enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B and live in the eight counties in the Houston area. The eight counties are Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller.
- Medicare Advantage – Preferred Provider Organization (MA PPO)
This plan is for retirees, surviving spouses, and their dependents who are enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B, living in the United States and not currently a Return to Work Retirees. This program replaces both Medicare and other GBP coverage as your primary and secondary coverage. This plan also covers the Medicare deductible. The MA PPO offers additional benefits and utilizes the same prescription drug benefits as HealthSelect.
- State of Texas Dental Choice Plan (PPO/Indemnity)
Members can choose to visit any dentist, but receive higher benefits if they use a participating dentist through the preferred provider network.
- Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO)
Members must select and use an in-network primary care dentist (PCD) from the DHMO to receive the plan benefits.
- Dental Discount
The Dental Discount plan is not dental insurance but a discount program specific to dental services. Under the Dental Discount plan, participating dentists have agreed to accept a discounted fee from members as payment-in-full for dental services performed. As an alternative to traditional dental insurance plans, the Dental Discount plan may appeal to members who are currently not participating in one of the dental insurance plans.
- Employee Discount Program
The Employee Discount Purchase Program is designed for all State of Texas and certain higher education participants (excluding the University of Texas and Texas A&M Systems). It gives GBP members the opportunity to shop online for gym memberships, jewelry, furniture, computers, automobiles, travel, electronic equipment, banking services, cell phones, prescription eyewear, weight management programs, smoking cessation programs and more. There are no enrollment fees assessed and no expenses for ERS or to the members. This program will not offer products or services that would compete with those offered by the GBP.
Life Insurance and Voluntary AD&D
- Basic & Optional Life
Basic Term Life insurance coverage is included when you sign up for health coverage in the GBP. Employees receive a $5,000 policy. This coverage is not available to family members.
Optional Term Life insurance provides additional life insurance coverage up to four times your annual salary (maximum of $400,000). Members pay a monthly premium for this coverage; premiums are based on age and level of coverage. Optional Term Life Insurance is in addition to the Basic Term Life insurance coverage provided with enrollment in health coverage. This coverage is not available to family members.
- Dependent Life
Life insurance coverage is available for eligible dependents. Dependent Term Life insurance pays $5,000 in the event of a dependent's death. This amount covers all eligible dependents. A child may be enrolled in coverage under two parents eligible for the GBP.
- Voluntary Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance
This benefit provides additional protection for members and their family in the event of accidental death or certain accidental injuries. Coverage is purchased in increments of $5,000 with benefits between $10,000 and $200,000. This is in addition to AD&D benefits provided with Basic and Optional Term Life insurance for active employees. Members can choose from two (2) levels of coverage; employee only or employee and family. Members cannot convert this coverage to an individual policy.
- Short-Term Disability
This optional benefit provides members with a portion of monthly insurance salary if illness or injury keeps them from working. To be eligible for benefits, a physician must certify the member as totally disabled. Benefits are paid for a period of up to five months.
- Long-Term Disability
This optional benefit provides you with a portion of your monthly insurance salary if illness or injury keeps you from working for a longer period. To be eligible for benefits, a physician must certify you as totally disabled. The length of time you receive benefit payments depends on your age at the onset of the disability.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
A Flexible Spending Account lets members pay for planned out-of-pocket health and dependent day care expenses tax-free. Members can choose between a health care account or a day care account, or use both.
- Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits
As a new optional benefits program for first Quarter of 2016, the ERS Board of Trustees approved a Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefits (QTFB) plan available to active employees. Through a QTFB plan, employees can use pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified expenses associated with their daily commute such as mass transportation or parking fees. According to the 2014 Qualified Commuter Benefits governed under § 132 of the Code, deferral contributions to the QTFB plan would be made with pre-tax dollars. While not part of a §125 cafeteria plan, a QTFB plan would complement the offerings of the TexFlex plan.
Similar to §125 plans, the maximum contribution limits for a QTFB program are set by the IRS. The monthly limit for qualified parking is $250 and the combined monthly limit for transit passes and vanpooling is $130.
Participants could elect to contribute to both the parking plan and the transit pass/vanpooling plan for a maximum monthly contribution of $380. If the participant does not use the full amount before the end of the program year, the left over amount is carried forward. § 132 QTFB plans do not have a “use it or lose it” forfeiture provision. Implementation planning for the installation of the QTFB plan is set for FY2016.
- Long Term Care Insurance
Provides certain benefits not covered by the medical plan, such as nursing home care and adult day care.
Current Health & Welfare Vendors
The GBP Contract Calendar provides a view of current products and services offered. You will find coverage, plan name and the current vendor with effective dates and expiration dates.