Effective July 1st, employees of the Lafayette Parish School system will see a change in their insurance benefits.
Some LPSS teachers say the change will take money from the pay raise they were just granted. Mona Bernard who is the Director of Risk Management says that is not true.
“I’m pleased they are getting a raise and we are not taking that away from them. That is not how this is happening,” Bernard said.
Bernard says the changes “should” affect less than 20 people.
Julia Reed, who is a teacher at SJ Montgomery Elementary, and the incoming president of the Lafayette Parish Association of Educators, says she won’t be directly affected but says so many other teachers will.
“If you were to meet both of those conditions, if you meet your prescription deductible its an extra 200 dollars and the $550 max out of pocket, that would eat up most if not all of the raise they would be seeing from the state that was recently passed,” Reed said.
Another teacher Reed spoke with said the increase makes her feel like she may not be able to go to the doctor as much or she may have to find a medicine that’s cheaper but not better.
“During our budget process each year, we do evaluate our health plan. We are self-funded. That means we pay our own claims and so we evaluate to make sure our funding levels are appropriate and to make sure we are not in the red, or we break even or better,” Bernard said.
Bernard said the plan is to avoid anyone having to pay a more expensive premium. The school system is increasing the maximum out of pocket for medical expenses and prescription drugs.
“This way we felt we could control the plan cost, avoid a premium increase right now and not affect very many members. Not very many members meet their maximum out of pocket. You have to have some very major medical expenses,” Bernard said.
“Even if it affects just one person, that still is a big deal. When you’re meeting your maximum out of pocket, you probably are experiencing a major health event or you have a chronic condition and they are impacting someone who is very vulnerable,” Reed said.
The plan goes into place on July 1st.