Paralyzing Pandemic Strikes Texas School Districts

An unreported pandemic strikes Texas school districts. Austin based doctors recommend the ostrich approach to health care management………………..

By Bill Rusteberg

Many Texas school districts under the TRS ActiveCare program are unhappy. Higher costs, less coverage and less choice has created a groundswell of dissatisfaction among the +400,000 educators in the TRS risk pool.

Two districts have escaped the iron grip of TRS ActiveCare trustees by doing what heretofore was a legal impossibility – offer a competing commercial plan alongside the TRS ActiveCare program. (Texas School District Challenges TRS ActiveCare Plan Mandates)

Other districts have taken note. So have TRS ActiveCare officials.

Using a District of Innovation declaration as a means to escape chaffing TRS handcuffs, two Texas school districts have discovered a loophole which they understand allows them to do just that. So they did.

Now we hear there is a movement in Austin geared to the next upcoming legislative session to abolish Districts of Innovation altogether.

School officials historically are known to be prone to caution towards decision making, their jobs depend on it. Risk aversion to anything new breeds paralyzing fear leading to indecision and inaction.

Some in Austin understand this dynamic and are quick to seize upon it to their advantage. Its a time honed tradition I learned working for a BUCA back in the day. Delay & Confuse when things are not going your way. It works 90% of the time.

Now we are hearing the drum beat of fear and indecision among TRS ActiveCare member school districts. “Let’s wait to see what the legislature does next session, we don’t want to follow the other two districts only to learn next year we can’t do it anymore.” 

That’s no different than a homeowner who loses their home to Hurricane Katrina and refuses to rebuild because “there may be another hurricane.”

Any move towards challenging TRS ActiveCare requires strong local leadership and a willingness to accept risk. Few fit those requirements. The Raymondville and El Paso Independent School Districts are examples of strong local leadership coupled with a willingness to try something new. (Second Texas School District Challenges TRS ActiveCare Mandate)

The stark truth of TRS ActiveCare’s failure to satisfy member needs is…………….it can be fixed and fixed quickly without pouring any more tax-payer money into the TRS ActiveCare Black Hole.

The La Feria and Rio Hondo Independent School Districts are proof that health care costs can be reduced, benefits improved, with static rates over a period of many years.

What’s the secret sauce? It’s common sense, reason and logic and traditional American business practices and knowing all the secrets the health care industry doesn’t want you to know. Its that simple. is a specialty company in the benefits market that, while not an insurance company, works directly with health entities, medical providers, and businesses to identify and develop cost effective benefits packages, emphasizing transparency and fairness in direct reimbursement compensation methods.