Clark County School District agrees to assist THT Health to keep educators' medical coverage afloat

The financially beleaguered nonprofit health plan for Clark County licensed educators is getting a boost from the Clark County School District, which will put forward a roughly $35 million prepayment to ensure continued medical coverage, the Clark County Education Association and district officials announced Monday.

The tentative agreement allows THT Health — formerly known as the Teachers Health Trust — to access up to three months of projected employer contribution payments to address the organization’s “imminent financial needs,” district officials said. The deal comes with an agreement from CCEA to a variety of transparency measures, which will shed more light on THT Health’s organizational management and fiscal situation.

The trust has been on financially shaky ground for years, with educators frequently complaining about issues with their benefits. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported earlier this month that the organization’s CEO, Michael Skolnik, had resigned.

“Our teachers deserve healthcare coverage they can rely on,” CCSD Board of School Trustees President Linda Cavazos said in a statement. “It is our hope that this agreement provides  educators with stability and peace of mind as they work hard every day to educate our students.”

John Vellardita, executive director of CCEA, said THT Health has hired a new CEO — Tom Zumtobel, who previously served as president of the Culinary Health Fund. Zumtobel’s LinkedIn page indicates he most recently worked at PPN Health Access.

Union officials also wrote in a news release that THT Health welcomes the school district’s transparency-related requests and “will provide any and all information so the district can better understand the medical challenges that THT has gone through, that has put them in this current financial situation.”

District officials said CCEA has agreed to provide THT Health’s financial statements for 2020, its board meeting minutes for the past three years and disclosure about debts, assets, revenue, liabilities and staff and executive compensation.

The pre-payment provided by the school district will be used only for the continued operation of the trust, which includes funding for claims, bringing aboard a third party administrator and transfer costs. District officials stipulated that the third party administrator must be highly rated in terms of annual premium costs, rate guarantee terms, experience and referrals within Nevada, and face-to-face support, among other factors.

“CCEA worked collaboratively with the District to find a viable solution that will allow all our educators and their families to have health insurance,” CCEA executive director John Vellardita said in a statement. “We appreciate the work the CCSD Board of Trustees did to find a solution that makes sense and gets THT back on the right track to providing health coverage.”

Union officials said THT Health will develop new health plans and acquire a new third party administrator to process claims within the next 90 days.