BCBS Seeks To Cultivate Relationships With Brokers Assigned To TRS ActiveCare Accounts?

Sun Tzu

Could having a local representative on the ground disguised as a punching bag, gauging and influencing perception and needs among members be the motivation?

By Molly Mulebriar

A BCBS job advertisement for a BCBS TRS representative posted on Linkedin gives pause to a critical eye, fueling deductive logic towards linking premises with conclusions.

As the reader may know, TRS will be moving from Aetna to BCBS September 2020. (TRS ActiveCare Dumps Aetna, Embraces BCBS)

The Linkedin advertisement, part of which is shown below, demonstrates an apparent effort to ramp up for the September takeover of the TRS ActiveCare +400,000 life government health plan from Aetna.

“Located in Houston, TX, this position is responsible for cultivating relationships with assigned TRS District’s Benefit Administrators, members, and broker working as the local representative for assigned district(s) for the TRS account.”

What’s interesting about this advertisement is the reference to cultivating relationships with brokers working for assigned districts. To the best of our knowledge this is a new development as brokers have never been employed in the past by either TRS or their TPA administrative surrogate to provide servicing resources for TRS accounts.

What’s changed? Why the apparent need now to employ independent insurance brokers to service TRS ActiveCare member districts?

Could the move towards employing local brokers be due to widespread dissatisfaction with the program and efforts among some districts to challenge TRS ActiveCare mandates? (Texas School District Challenges TRS ActiveCare Plan Mandates)  Could having a local representative on the ground disguised as a punching bag, gauging and influencing perception and needs among members be the motivation?

Sun Tzu once wrote “Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions can only be obtained from other men. Hence the use of spies…………” Having local spies means employing the services of the inhabitants of a district according to Sun Tzu.

The advertisement leads a critical eye to ponder upon what basis will local brokers be selected? Who will make that decision? How will brokers get paid and by who and how much? The later’s an important question because duty of loyalty is expected in return for consideration.

Will districts be required to approve an Agent of Record? That could be a problem. A Texas Attorney General Opinion advises against school districts from hiring an insurance agent of record – Commissioner’s Bulletin #B-0041-07

If we are reading this advertisement correctly and BCBS is indeed seeking collaboration with local insurance brokers towards servicing TRS ActiveCare member districts, we expect widespread interest among local insurance brokerages and TRS members.

Depending upon the broker selection process, it could be one hell of a bloodbath as competing brokers are wont to do when competing for business. Unfortunately it’s been our observation over the years that insurance brokerage community members vying for public business are characteristically vicious in battle to win accounts by any and all means, ethical or not while taking no prisoners.

The San Benito ISD case is a classic example:

 “The three insurance agents listed as the submitting agents by the winning TPA, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, were Pierre Newkirk, Albert Salinas and Joe Salazar. Bob Trevino, an insurance  agent who did not submit the winning bid, was chosen over the three who did.” (San Benito School District Awards TPA Services to Highest Bidder)

For the first time, TRS ActiveCare members will have access to local resources provided by health insurance advisors trained to assist and guide members through the complicated and confusing maze of the American health care delivery system.

And TRS ActiveCare officials through their BCBS surrogate will have ears to the ground in every community……………….

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