Can Blue Cross Save Brownsville Independent School District Money?

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) has larger market share than any other managed care company. They insure most Texas school districts through the TRS ActiveCare plan, many federal employees, and all State of Texas employees. They even insure HEB, a 70,000 life grocery store chain that out-competed Albertson’s in the Valley several years ago.

You would think, and BCBS representatives will verify, that BCBSTX has the market clout to negotiate superior PPO discounts with medical care providers, especially hospitals.

This may be particularly true with hospitals. A review of a BCBS hospital contract will reveil a unique arrangement that no other managed care provider offers, as far as we can tell: an annuity feature. Participating hospitals are guaranteed a weekly cash flow, whether they see a BCBSTX member patient or not. That is important to a hospital’s bottom line. And that is worth something in contract negotiations.

So, why isn’t the Brownsville ISD engaged with BCBSTX? 

BCBSTX may become a contestant worth considering next time the BISD goes to bid. The variables will include many factors such as broker control of bids/proposals, bias of consultant, Board politics, local health care providers intent to perserve profits, expertise of the BISD insurance committe, and the position of the Moon.

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