Insurance costs rising for Calcasieu school employees

Published 6:48 am Friday, March 17, 2023

Insurance premiums for employees in the Calcasieu Parish school district will be increasing.

The Calcasieu Parish School Board Employee Benefits Committee met on March 9 to discuss these premiums, said Billy Breaux, District 13. At this meeting, the committee met with insurance staff to hear recommendations. Ultimately, the committee recommended changing the deductible for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Plan from $750 to $1000 and going to a $3,250 annual out of pocket maximum.

At the monthly board meeting on Tuesday, Breaux offered an amendment to the recommendation. The amendments to the recommendation created a cut in cost for the board and a lower premium increase for CPSB employees.

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After debate, the amended plan was approved. On the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Plan, there will be a 5.17% premium increase. The individual in-network deductible for high option plans will increase from $750 to $1,250 and the annual out of pocket maximum – individual – will increase from $3,000 to $4,000.

Breaux explained that an increase in premiums is due, explaining that “a lot of that tax comes in and catches up to you every now and then.”

In the last decade, very few changes have been made to CPSB insurance premiums and deductibles. Breaux cited the last four years, premiums were only increased once by 2%. “The board ate a lot of that to help our employees,” he said.

Breaux also explained that if changes are not made now, premium percentages will compound to a much higher rate in the coming years, stating “things are going to get tight here extremely in the very near future.”

Other adjustments to employee benefits were made.

Met Life Dental will see no plan changes, but will have a 7% premium increase. Individual cost will increase from $26.79 to $28.67 and family cost will increase from $68.10 to $72.87.

Trustmark Group Basic & Optional Life Insurance will see a 13.5% premium increase, with coverage amount per $1,000 increasing from $1.26 to $1.43.

These premiums will apply from May 1, 2023 until April 30, 2024.

Medicare Blue Advantage, for Jan. 1, 2024 through Dec. 31, 2024 will have a 4.92% premium increase, with the average cost for retiree only in advantage increasing $100.32 to $105.26.