State workers could be paying higher premiums
BATON ROUGE - State workers could have to pay more money for health insurance and lose some coverage at the same time under the Governor's plan to help save the state money.
A public hearing was held Monday about the proposed changes to insurance plans for state workers. Many expressed their concerns before one state legislator and members of the Office of Group Benefits including one retired state worker.
"It's not going to cost me very much more," said Calvin Fair who expressed his concerns for state workers. "I've got good friends that still work at (Department of Environmental Quality) and still work in other parts of state governments their the ones that are getting tagged." "This didn't have to happen."
The original proposals included coverage cuts and higher premiums for retirees, current state workers and some teachers. The Office of Group Benefits covers more than 230,000 of them.
Although the costs for retirees were eliminated in November after legislators expressed concerns, however, working state employees and even some teachers could be expected to pay more.
Just one state legislator was in attendance, but a number of retirees were there to support state workers after the Jindal administration proposed higher insurance premium for state workers as a way to help the state save money but retirees aren't buying into the plan.
"He cut programs," said Fair. "He's fired people, he's done all this sort of stuff. He's done it to the universities and now it's the state employees and retirees and its not fair."
The Office of Group Benefits will prepare a report for the legislature to be reviewed. After that, it will have 30 days to review and send another report to the Governor's office for approval.
Dianne Guillot, President of the Retired State Employees Association, says a working family of two compared to a working family of six could both pay around three thousand dollars under the changes to the health insurance.
"A dollar here a dollar there makes a difference, when there's been no pay raises for the number of years we have gone with," said Guillot.
If approved, the state workers insurance could take effect by July 1st. Other groups came to the meeting to show their appreciation to state legistators.