State auditor: CT wrongly picked up health coverage tab for 3 re-employed teachers

Connecticut’s state auditor reported Thursday that the state for years has inappropriately paid for the health benefits of three teachers who returned to the classroom after having been in retirement.

State Auditor John Geragosian file photo

State Auditor John Geragosian

In a review of seven sample cases, State Auditor John Geragosian found that three re-employed teachers still had health benefits being paid for by the state’s Teachers’ Retirement Board rather than by the local school districts employing the teachers.

The retirement board – which provides $20 million in subsidies each year to bring down health insurance costs for retired public school teachers – did not have procedures in place to ensure the state stops paying for these benefits when teachers return to the classroom.

Despite state law mandating the state not pick up this cost, “Rehired teachers received health benefits from the board that they were not eligible to receive,” Geragosian wrote.

While 43 percent of the seven cases reviewed were found to be receiving benefits in error, it is not clear just how widespread the problem is. The audit was part of a regular review and only selected a sample of cases to check. Statewide, 183 people left retirement to return to the classroom in fiscal years 2014 and 2015

“We agree with this recommendation. Upon discovery we immediately implemented a process to retroactively recoup health benefits paid on behalf of re-employed retired teachers, where applicable, and to suspend such benefits prospectively for newly re-employed retirees.”

Geragosian said in an interview he believed the Teachers’ Retirement Board had resolved the problem.