Superintendent recommends health insurance change

POSTED: Friday, July 13, 2012 - 9:00pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 13, 2012 - 9:04pm

Days before important decisions are made regarding health care coverage for all East Baton Rouge School System employees, and the superintendent is making his opinion known.

"What we're trying to do is find good in a not so ideal situation," said Superintendent Bernard Taylor.

All eyes are on Taylor and the school board as they will make health care decisions sure to affect thousands of former and current employees of the school system.

"If we don't move forward expeditiously, potential rate of increase could be very significant," Taylor said.

Taylor suggests the district should move to put the 2,700 eligible retirees into a Medicare program, that he said will save the district eight-million a year.

A raucous meeting on Monday ended with the board voting to defer a decision on benefits. At least 100 retirees packed the meeting room, demanding more details before any action was taken.

"I think people have thought narrowly about how it impacts retirement," Taylor said. "It affects everyone. Everyone."

Taylor warned that if his suggestion doesn't pass, that premiums for all former and current employees will rise by 33-percent.

As president of the Baton Rouge Area Retired Teachers Association, Arthur Lamm agreed with the superintendent.

"I'm happy as a retiree," Lamm said. "And I appreciate the school board for doing this."

Lamm said he's encouraging those eligible to sign up for Medicare. He said for decades it's supported him better than any other health plan could.

"Twenty years, I've paid no out of cost expenses for healthcare," Lamm said.

The board will vote on a healthcare option next Thursday. But Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, informational hearings will be held to answer any questions both current and former East Baton Rouge School System employees may have. Click here for more information.

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