If TRS ActiveCare would adopt this strategy there would be no commercial vendor able to compete competitively. The only difference would be in fixed expenses which TRS ActiveCare would win hands down. Commercial vendors have enormous expenses TRS ActiveCare doesn’t.
TRS would need a partner and it probably would not be Blue Cross of Texas. That would be akin to asking BCBS to change their business model at the expense of their provider partners. Instead, TRS ActiveCare would be wise to offer members a Reference Based Pricing (RBP) plan option in addition to their PPO and HMO options. That would provide members with more choice and choice is good.
The RBP plan option could be administered by an independent third party administrator experienced in that space.
TRS ActiveCare, for the first time in 20 years, must compete for business. Employing a RBP option is a good first step. Competing for lucrative voluntary products is another step that makes good business sense. After all, legacy voluntary product vendors/administrators are actively engaged in taking business away from TRS ActiveCare. Turn around is fair play. TRS ActiveCare would earn enormous commissions which could be used to offset medical plan expenses.
TRS ActiveCare trustees need to be bold and demanding, not docile, encumbered with status quo blinders. They must think out of the box, something entirely new to them. They need strong leadership to guide them towards business decisions that make sense instead of relying solely upon “we need more money” solutions to health care.