School board worried about high insurance

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 11, 2002

VIDALIA &045; As if getting sick weren’t bad enough, many Concordia Parish School Board employees have had insult added to illness with high insurance premiums and bloated and seemingly arbitrary co-payments.

Although Concordia Parish residents have traveled across the state line for decades for their medical care, recently, many school board employees have complained that their co-payments have gone up drastically.

At Tuesday night’s board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Pete Peterman said he’s heard reports of co-payments for Louisiana residents who get care in Mississippi as high as 30 percent of the total bill for a doctor’s office visit.

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At the same time, Peterman said board employees who live in Mississippi are paying only 10 percent for their check-ups and medical procedures.

&uot;There’s some real inequity here,&uot; Peterman said.

Aside from the differences in co-payments, Peterman said insurance premiums for school employees are just too high.

&uot;This is really a mess,&uot; he said. &uot;We’ve got to get it straightened out.&uot;

In an effort to effect some kind of change, the board voted to accept a resolution asking for relief not only for Concordia Parish but for the rest of the state.

In the resolution, a copy of which will be sent to Gov. Mike Foster, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the state Legislature, state Superintendent Cecil Picard, the Louisiana and National School Boards Associations, the board asks the Legislature to increase its supplemental funding for school board insurance plans.

The Legislature currently provides $92 million to keep premiums down for the school systems that participate in the State Group Employees’ Health Insurance program. The 23 systems that don’t participate don’t receive any of that money, but the board’s resolution asks for an even distribution, regardless of what plan a school system belongs to.

&uot;The necessity of quality healthcare for all is undeniable,&uot; the resolution reads.

In other business, the board:

4Presented citizenship awards for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Ferriday Upper Elementary, Vidalia Upper Elementary and Ridgecrest Elementary.

4Recognized Ferriday Lower Elementary second-grade reading teacher Bobbie Hinson’s regional finalist showing for state teacher of the year.

4Approved a $500 bonus for full-time employees and a $250 bonus for part-timers. The bonus will be paid Dec. 18.

4Voted to take over managerial oversight from the state of the lease on163 acres board-owned acres near Lake St. John.

4Took bids from R.A. Edgin and the Blain Companies for parking lot construction under advisement.

4Approved new policies for the home study and adult education programs.

4Appoint Deborah Ellis as a teacher at Vidalia Lower and Patty Killelea as a teacher at Ferriday Lower.

4Appoint Jennie Johnson, Vanessa Johnson, Jennifer Howard and Leroy Caldwell to positions in the sales tax division.