CCSD teacher health insurance concerns hot topic at upcoming school board meeting

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Teachers are being denied medical coverage or having bills sent to collections, due to their health insurance not paying up.

According to the Clark County Education Association (CCEA), Teachers Health Trust (THT Health) has been underfunded for more than a decade.

Now the health provider is experiencing an increase in medical claims that are outpacing the money they are receiving.

“I’ve had doctors basically say ‘we’re not seeing any Teachers Health Trust patients’ and I’ve started getting bills in the mail of unpaid claims,” says Jim Castellani who teaches math at Desert Oasis High School.

He tells 8 News Now he has more than $1,000 in unpaid claims. “I feel like we have been left in the dark, as teachers, for too long with no idea of what’s happening or what they’re going to do to fix it,” he adds.

In May, the Clark County School District provided an advance of $35M to help.

THT Health also recently hired new management and a new claims processing company.

During a July podcast, the CCEA said they’re taking significant steps to recover.

“It’s not a light switch folks, it’s complicated. It’s going to take some time to get on the road to recovery,” said John Vellardita who is the executive director of the CCEA.

Castellani says they need more communication on a timeline.

“How are those negotiations going? When will they be complete? When will teachers know if they’re going to be subject to billing? I mean there’s a lot of unanswered questions,” he adds.

Now Castellani is worried that this many issues with health insurance will lead to fewer teachers applying to the district.

“It’s going to be difficult to attract people to a profession where we can’t pay our bills or won’t pay our bills, and basically don’t communicate to you for months on what the plan is,” he says.

8 News Now reached out to the teacher’s union and THT Health for more information but did not receive a response at the time of the story deadline.

Both the teacher’s union and THT Health are expected to give presentations at Thursday’s CCSD school board meeting.

Teachers are expected to hold a rally outside the board meeting on Thursday.

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