The 2015 Regular Session of the Texas Legislature charged ERS with providing an alternative health insurance option to HealthSelect of Texas and the regional HMOs. Specifically, they directed ERS to create a consumer-directed health plan (CDHP) that includes a high-deductible health plan coupled with a health savings account.
Health savings accounts, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, were created in 2003 so that individuals covered by high-deductible health plans could receive tax-preferred treatment of money saved for medical expenses. Generally, an adult who is covered by a high-deductible health plan (and has no other first-dollar coverage) may establish an HSA.
The new ERS plan will be available to members not eligible for Medicare. You don’t have to switch health plans, but during the upcoming Summer Enrollment period, you can select this new health coverage option to start September 1, 2016.
IMPORTANT: This is an option that should be considered very carefully before changing from your current plan with ERS. Some individuals may see certain financial advantages in the new plan. You should also confer with your school's human resources personnel, as institutions vary in their level of premium rates for employees and dependents.
Here is a link from ERS for more information. Note especially the section on how it works.