EBR board to consider employee health insurance

Panel to eye changing retirees’ plan

Increases in health insurance premiums for some retirees, moving about 100 gifted and talented students from Glen Oaks Park to Merrydale elementary this fall, and authorizing the conversion of Claiborne Elementary into a dedicated magnet school in 2014 are on the agenda for Thursday’s East Baton Rouge Parish School Board meeting.

The meeting starts at 5 p.m. at the School Board Office, 1022 S. Foster Drive.

The board is being asked Thursday to approve the 2014 health insurance package only for active employees and for retirees not eligible for Medicare. The board will hear a presentation on the retirees’ eligible for Medicare on Thursday but is not planning to vote on their health insurance until May 2.

The main option on the table is to move almost 2,700 Medicare-eligible retirees off the school system’s self-funded plan, where the school system pays for supplemental coverage including for prescription drugs, to Medicare through a privately managed Medicare Advantage Plan.

At an April 11 meeting of a special in-house Retiree Insurance Advisory Committee, Humana and United Healthcare made presentations on their respective Medicare Advantage proposals but the committee did not make a recommendation because the panel is awaiting final offers from the companies.

Mercer, a health care consulting firm, told the advisory committee that based on their respective medical claims history, there is no need to increase premiums for active employees, but non-Medicare retiree premiums would need to increase by 10 percent in 2014.

If no change is made to costs incurred by Medicare-eligible retirees, their premiums would need to increase, Mercer officials have said.

Some members of the advisory committee suggested that instead of increasing premiums by type of employee, the school system could raise premiums across the board, perhaps by about 7 percent. Mercer did not present an across-the-board increase estimate on April 11.

The board will also take up Thursday a proposal to move about 100 gifted and talented students this fall from Glen Oaks Park Elementary, a C-rated school, to nearby Merrydale Elementary, an F-rated school, amid opposition from some Glen Oaks Park parents.

The board heard no opposition on April 4 to two other ideas it will consider Thursday, namely moving middle school students at Glen Oaks High to a new location this fall and converting Claiborne Elementary into a dedicated magnet program in fall 2014.