Solving the Problem
AISD's health insurance problems are not new
Austin Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos has indicated that he is extremely troubled that AISD, the second largest employer in Austin, has contracted with an insurance carrier that does not comply with Texas Medicare and Medicaid guidelines authorizing peripheral stem-cell transplantation. Amil's Donald Coronado responds that Amil is "not governed by [those] guidelines."
Asked via e-mail whether AISD has any plans to address the questions raised about the adequacy of this aspect of the district's health care coverage, spokeswoman Nicole Kaufman responded, "AISD is aware that this procedure is not covered under the current policy with Amil. The District's Health Insurance Committee meets regularly during the school year, and will discuss the possibility of including this benefit in the District's next bid for an insurance provider in the spring of 2005."
Barrientos said he intends to pursue legislation in the January 2005 session and to "get some squeaky-clean guidelines" to remedy this discrepancy and make certain that the Department of Insurance has the authority to require that insurance companies doing business in Texas comply with Texas Medicare and Medicaid guidelines. "The bottom line," Barrientos continued, "is that teachers have enough to deal with if they get sick, they don't need to be fighting anybody, especially their own insurance company. They need to fight the disease." Linda Turner, Mire's friend who assisted her with the quagmire of insurance coverage issues, adds, "teachers who take care of our children, and are already underpaid and over-burdened deserve better than this."