THT Health will raise health insurance premiums for CCSD teachers

Clark County School District teachers who have multiple family members covered by health insurance are facing increased costs, and in some cases nearly doubling their premiums.

THT Health’s open enrollment period for the 2022-23 benefit year began on August 3 and will continue until August 24. The changes take effect on October 1.

The factors behind the increase are inflation and the teacher shortage — essentially, higher costs are spread among fewer people with health insurance.

“Health care costs are really going up,” THT Health CEO Tom Zumtobel told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday.

THT Health is the health insurance provider for approximately 36,000 licensed school district employees and their families. The trust, which has struggled with financial problems for years and received repeated bailouts, is controlled by the Clark County Education Association teachers union.

The premium increase will have the biggest effect on families who choose a traditional PPO plan.

Educators who are insured individually or with one dependent will not see a premium increase for medical benefits, but will see a “nominal premium change” if they choose a dental PPO over the HMO option, according to the trust’s website.

Zumtobel said during Thursday night’s school board meeting that the school district does a “very good job” of funding educators, but not funding families, and “our costs fall on families.”

He said the medical trust was not happy with the premium increase.

John Velardita, executive director of the Clark County Education Association, sent Zumtobel a comment to the Review-Journal on Friday.

In a statement Friday, the school district said, “Since the insurance program is administered by THT, we will entrust them with the response.”

Last school year, teachers began voicing concerns that their health care providers were dropping them as patients or sending them to collections because of unpaid claims.

The school district made a $35 million advance to the health fund last year, which must be repaid by the end of June 2024.

In October, an agreement was reached between the district and the teachers’ union. It included financial transparency and other requirements such as settlement of arrears.

Zumtobel told the Review-Journal on Friday that the health fund has done “great things” over the past year, including resolving delinquent claims and collection cases. He said it “turned the operation around”.

He said the trust had not expected premiums to rise, but inflation and fewer teachers had played a role.

The health foundation said on its website that its “trend inflation” is 8.73 percent, compared to local and national employers who experience cost increases of 12 to 25 percent in their plans.

It’s hard to recruit teachers, Zumtobel said, noting that he understands the bonus increases aren’t helping.

He said the increase has hit families hard.

“Personally, I hate it, but it would be unfair to put it on individual teachers,” he said.

High school teacher Ryan Fromoltz, who is insured as an individual under a traditional PPO plan, said he has heard concerns from district employees who have multiple children about how they are going to pay for the premium increase.

“Teachers are looking at redundancy options because family allowances have gone up a lot,” he said.

THT Health offers two plan options: a traditional PPO and a high deductible plan.

New this year, the school district will contribute $500 for an individual and $1,000 for a family to a savings account for those with a high-deductible plan.

Zumtobel said that’s a significant advantage, noting that he thinks it’s been lost in the conversation.

Another change: additional family categories of subscribers appeared — subscriber plus two to four people and subscriber plus five or more people. Currently it’s just “subscriber plus family”.

Employees pay $245 for each biweekly paycheck for the Signature Plan, a traditional PPO. This will increase from $368 to $475.50, depending on family size and dental plan selected.

There is a smaller premium increase for the high-deductible Advantage plan, which is currently $232.50 for a family. The cost will now range from $247.50 to $267.50.

By comparison, individual licensed workers will pay between $7.50 and $19.50 per salary, depending on which plan and dental benefits they choose.

An employee and one family member will pay between $115 and $134 per salary.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at [email protected] or 702-387-2921. follow @julieswootton on Twitter. Reporter Lorraine Longhi contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.