Brownsville ISD to discuss health insurance during Sept. 18 special meeting

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The Brownsville Independent School District Board of Trustees has scheduled a special-called meeting Sept. 18 on health insurance, postponing action on the status of the district’s insurance consultant Roger Garza after a closed session at its Sept. 5 meeting.

Trustee Carlos Elizondo had placed an item for discussion and possible action in open session on the issue, but board president Jessica G. Gonzalez had it moved to executive session.

The executive session lasted until just before midnight but also concerned other matters. The board then tabled Elizondo’s item and quickly voted 7-0 to hold the Sept. 18 meeting.

Elizondo said he placed the item out of concern about the number of bidders for third-party administrator of BISD’s $54 million self-funded insurance plan and the information they were given.

“I found out the information these bidders were requesting, there was 14 of them. They were being denied this information, so they truly could not get an adequate bid to the school district to be able to say ‘yeah we could save you money or we can’t and we’re out,’ so these questions were asked. I got a copy of these questions with the answers by our hired Roger Garza,” Elizondo told The Brownsville Herald.

Elizondo raised the concerns at the board’s Aug. 23 insurance committee meeting.

At that meeting Garza explained that five out of 14 vendors that submitted bids to be the third-party administrator for BISD’s insurance plan met the criteria to be selected finalists and were to make presentations at the meeting.

Of those, only three, current TPA Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Health Care and Aetna, were selected finalists because the other two, Assertive and Lucent Health, would only submit certain information if they were selected finalists, Garza said.

United Healthcare, Blue Cross and Aetna were to start their presentations when questions arose. The process was similar to the last time the contract was negotiated four years ago, but BISD converted to electronic submission this time, Garza said.

Garza also said there was about a 30-point spread between the top three and bottom two vendors on the selection criteria.

Trustee Eddie Garcia, the insurance committee chairman, said he felt the committee’s consensus was to look “for something better than our current plan design offers, and definitely at a savings to taxpayers. …That’s the consensus of this board, to get the best for our employees and … to hear presentations from the top five,” Garcia said during the meeting.

Reportedly, the five vendors vying for selection as third-party administrator presented at a Sept. 1 meeting of BISD’s employee benefits committee. However, the meeting was not streamed on the district’s YouTube channel as is normal practice.