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June 9, 2021

The ARTA Retiree Benefits Plan — Built by Retirees, for Retirees

The ARTA Retiree Benefits Plan has enjoyed great success since it was first established in 1995. We have grown to a critical mass and began self-administering our plan earlier this year. While the transition to self-administration has not been as smooth as hoped, we have improved considerably since the start of the year and have again started to provide the level of service our members have become accustomed to.

As with anything else in a free marketplace, the success ARTA and its members have enjoyed has led to competition. We understand retirees have a number of options available for benefits, but none of the other options have the same advantages that ARTA brings.

The ARTA Retiree Benefits Plan is designed by retirees, for retirees.

The individuals ultimately responsible for the plan design and coverage details are the ARTA Health Benefits Committee and the ARTA Board of Directors. Both of these groups are made up of Regular ARTA members (retired teachers), although all Regular and Affiliate members are welcome to submit suggestions for plan design considerations, and all requests are given equal consideration. The committee and the board make decisions on plan design and rates based on the benefit to members and not the financial bottom line of an insurance company.

All money paid into the plan stays in the plan.

ARTA operates the plan to ensure every dollar collected as premiums from our covered members is used to cover claims and administration costs. This means that no premiums paid by our members are used to subsidize any other plans, such as a plan that simultaneously offers benefits to its active and retired members. The move to self-administration has further allowed ARTA to re-invest savings from self-administration back into the plan, instead of using the funds to subsidize other groups or generate profits.

ARTA has improved the plan while leaving health rates unchanged.

A byproduct of ARTA’s incredible growth since the plan’s inception is the ability to improve the coverage available under the plan. This is because more people covered means there are more people over whom to spread the risk. The Health Benefits Committee has always tried to keep the monthly premium rates as steady as possible, especially considering that most of our members live on a fixed income. We have instead been able to offer enhanced benefits and to cover additional costs by reducing overhead expenses and implementing sensible cost-savings initiatives. This is not always easy, especially with ever-increasing healthcare costs. A number of other plans have already announced premium rate increases, not only for this year but also for the following two years.

ARTA provides a number of other benefits.

Our Retiree Benefits Plan is just one of the many benefits of being an ARTA member. We have other value-added perks for our members, including the BOOM discount program, travel partner programs, our advocacy work, and our charitable foundation. ARTA is well-positioned to continue offering its members the very best in benefits, with decisions affecting covered members made by other members — something no other plan has. Such member representatives will always ensure our covered members’ benefit dollars go as far as possible to meet our members’ needs, while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the plan for current and future plan members.