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Teachers Health Trust CEO says company not going bankrupt

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Updated: 3/20/2013 11:02 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- The last news tens of thousands of local teachers wanted to hear is that their health insurance plan was in danger of going belly-up.

If that happened, teachers could be on the hook for unpaid health claims.

The teachers health trust reportedly was two to three months away from running out of money. The plan's CEO went public and said that's not true.

News 3's Elizabeth Donatelli is here with news on just how long the current model can stay afloat.

There were those early reports that the bank was drying up But CEO Peter Alert says they have two to 24 to 30 months if they don't do anything but they're working on options.

Nearly 18,000 teachers fill Clark County classrooms with health insurance provided through a trust. That trust is in financial trouble, adding $225,000 each month since July to its deficit. Alpert is still confident.

“To say to those who think we're going out of business, I say talk to me first, we're not going out of business,” said Trust CEO Peter Alpert.

Alpert explains why the trust does not have cash flow.

"The school district has not increased the Teachers Health Trust contributions since July 1 2008,” Alpert said. “We also have not raised the teachers premiums in 10 years.”

With the backing of the teachers union, Alpert has asked teachers to pay a max of $8 per pay period more which could bump the lowest free plan to $8 and the highest to $33. So far, they haven't collected a cent of it.

“The school district has refused to withhold the money form teachers paychecks,” Alpert said.

News 3 took the charge to the district.

“We're actually unable to re-open the contract and ask for more money from our hard working teachers, said CCSD spokesperson Amanda Fulkerson.

Fulkerson tells News 3 they can discuss it when they re-negotiate the teachers’ contract and if the trust fails.

“We are confident we will be able to provide health insurance should something happen to the teachers health trust,” Fulkerson said.

Healthcare consultant Terry Van Noys is also confident that the trust will survive, calling it efficient. Less than a third of the administrative costs of for-profit insurance companies.

“I can tell you what would happen if they went out to quote bid it would be an exercise in futuillity these teachers health trust would win hands down,” Van Noys said.

Alpert says they are setting up arbitration. It will be sometime after the legislative session and before next school year, but keep in mind it's costing more than $200,000 dollars each month it drags out.

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