LAS VEGAS (FOX5) – Clark County School District's Board of Trustees meeting Thursday stretched late into the night. Many teachers wore orange shirts to the meeting demanding change, some even threatening to quit if they don't get it. The biggest issue: health insurance.
Teacher after teacher took to the podium to express the problems they see in CCSD.
“I got a call today from my doctor, from my chiropractor saying I have to pay cash because Teachers Health Trust has not paid them in eight months,” said one teacher.
“You want to ensure that educators have quality healthcare, stop playing games and fund it,” another teach told the board.
Teachers Health Trust, or THT, was $42 million in the red for fiscal year 2021.
By all accounts, THT cannot pay its bills. Some doctors are now turning teachers away or asking them to pay up front.
“When you are the parent of a child with a chronic and progressive disease to which there is no cure and the health insurance that you depend on and are contractually entitled to doesn’t have money to pay almost a year worth of bills results in a max exodus doctors unwilling to continue providing services for free, it tends to make you feel a little bit unhinged,” Stacey Segal, a CCSD kindergarten teacher said.
“When I became a teacher 12 years ago, one of the perks of being a teacher was the good insurance,” Elementary School teacher Nikole Calix said.
Calix said insurance that was once considered the gold standard has now failed her.
“At the end of the 2021 school year, I ended up in the hospital with a 3-and-a-half-pound cabbage sized ovarian tumor… A few months ago, I got a call from one of my doctors and I had to pay a $200 dollar bill so I wouldn’t be turned over to collections. They told me that the insurance could reimburse me,” Calix said.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada stopped accepting THT patients due to a lack of payments.
“I’m dying from cancer… I don’t even know how to explain to you how angry I am,” Kindergarten teacher Angie Sullivan said.
Sullivan wants CCSD to step up for its teachers and bailout THT.
$40 million is nothing to you. It really isn’t. It is just cruel to lock it up and not help us,” Sullivan said.
Why does THT have a $42 million deficit? That remains unclear. Regardless of how or why it happened, there must be some sort of solution.
Teachers could be forced to pay higher monthly premiums, get less benefits from their insurance, or the district could get rid of THT and move to a private health insurance company.
That will be debated behind closed doors by the Board of Trustees.
Following the conclusion of the meeting, CCSD released the following statement:
Despite the presentation to the Board, the CCEA failed to adequately explain the $42 million THT deficit, or satisfactorily and accurately answer questions about the solvency of the THT.
CCSD teachers deserve an effective, functioning health plan that provides for them and their families. If teachers are worried about their health coverage and whether their health needs will be covered, then they are unfairly burdened by the inadequate coverage purportedly provided under the THT plan. Teachers should not be rejected by health providers because the provider has no confidence that payment will occur for services rendered.
Further burdening teachers and their families with higher contributions for inadequate coverage is unconscionable. The Clark County School District cannot stand by while the Teachers Health Trust burdens teachers with higher expenses for less coverage.