On Friday, the Policy and Planning Board of the Louisiana Office of Group Benefits (OGB) met to consider a proposed rate hike. Increasing rates would result in added health insurance costs for teachers and school employees across the state, along with other public employees.
LFT sent out an action alert as soon as news of the meeting was made public. In less than 24 hours, thousands of teachers and school employees wrote to the board, asking them to vote ‘no’ on the proposed increase to the cost of their insurance.
LFT Legislative and Political Director Cynthia Posey spoke before the Board on Friday, relaying the concerns of our members and asking the board members to oppose any rate hikes this year. While we fully recognize the importance of having a stable, well-funded account balance that will ensure reliable insurance coverage for our members, we oppose efforts to unnecessarily increase costs. Currently, the OGB fund is well above target rates. The Louisiana Legislative Auditor recommends that the OGB fund balance should be roughly $275 million. Currently, it sits at $430.8 million. This is money that state agencies and state employees, like teachers and school employees, have paid into the system.
The proposal before the Board on August 25th was to raise rates across the board by 6.15% and to increase rates by as much as 12.4% on certain plans. Ultimately, because of your advocacy the board voted to limit the rate increase for this year. They approved a 4.5% rate increase. Unfortunately, this will result in added costs for many teachers and school employees, but the additional cost won’t be as burdensome as it would have been under their original proposal.
LFT will continue to advocate for sensible insurance plans that meet the needs of teachers and school employees. Too often, we fight for a raise in the legislature, only to see it offset by increases in insurance costs. In order to recruit and retain a highly qualified and highly effective educator workforce, we need to ensure that teachers and school employees are able to provide for their families. Increased insurance costs just put an added burden on an already underpaid profession. Thank you for taking action on this important issue!
For specific information on how this rate hike will impact your school district, please reach out to your district administration or your local LFT Representatives.