St. Landry School Board examines voluntary health insurance plan


For the second time since September, officials at St. Landry Parish School will consider offering an optional health care plan they say aims to lower annual premium costs for employees and the district.

Whether to offer school workers the option to enroll in a health insurance plan offered by Taylor and Sons Inc. is expected to be discussed at a regular school board meeting on August 5.

Kevin Thompson, who represented Taylor and Sons at a staff and benefits committee meeting on Tuesday, said those who choose the optional Med-Plus plan can still stay with the state’s Office of Group Benefits , which handles insurance and prescription claims, and Blue Cross-Blue Shield. , which provides insurance coverage to most of the approximately 2,000 workers in the district.

A similar plan that touted lower insurance costs was presented to board members by Thompson and Taylor and Sons last year, but the offer was rejected due to a restricted registration process and the district decision to virtually start the next school term.

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Also, some board members wondered at the time if there might be other companies offering similar plans so that they could compare to the gap insurance presented by Taylor and Sons. .

Board member Mary Ellen Donatto asked a similar question in Tuesday’s meeting when she asked Superintendent Patrick Jenkins if he knew of any other insurance companies offering gap plans. employees who are normally used to cover the costs of additional individual insurance expenses.

Donatto also questioned the timing of the October 1 employee registration period, which would be preceded by employee engagement sessions starting in August with Taylor and Sons.

“I just find it quick enough to educate everyone, especially in light of the (COVID) situation we find ourselves in,” Donatto said.

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Jenkins said he’s not sure there are other companies offering gap plans similar to the one used by Taylor and Sons.

The school district pays 75% of the monthly premiums for active and retired employees.

Jenkins said the Med Plus plan with the gap option gives both the school district and workers a chance to save money on health insurance costs.

“For a family, this plan could save them close to $ 3,000 a year and that’s money they can put back in their pockets. It’s just something on top of what they already have, ”Jenkins added.

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In her annual budget message for 2020-2021, District Finance Director Tressa Miller said she expects employee insurance costs to increase by about 5.5%, which will cost to the school system an additional $ 280,000.

Board member Kyle Boss said talking about changes to their insurance plans is an issue that quickly grabs the attention of school employees.

The boss said he had started to get numerous inquiries about the possibility of the board deciding to move on to other options with their insurance even before Tuesday’s meeting began.

“You talk to insurance (with the employees) and they don’t want to hear anything about it,” Boss said.

Thompson said Taylor and Sons had 19 Louisiana school districts participating in the Med-Plus plan, which is paid for by the school systems in which their workers are enrolled.

Workers who purchase the Med-Plus option receive lower premiums with costs borne by the school district, no deductibles or coinsurance, and no co-payments, while the same providers would provide coverage for prescription drugs.

Board members Myron Guillory, Raymond Cassimere and Milton Ambres said they saw no reason why an optional insurance plan should be dropped from the August 5 meeting agenda.

Donatto added that she wanted employees to “clearly” understand that they are not required to make changes to their current insurance plans.

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