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Oct 2, 2013 11:07 PM by Tina Macias

School board chooses new health care

The Lafayette Parish School Board has chosen Key Benefits Administrators for its employees health care, despite protests from employees who wants to stay with current provider Blue Cross Blue Shield.

KBA will save the board $8 million annually, but teachers questioned whether that is possible, and whether the board's vote tonight was legal.

The board has voted on this issue at three different meetings -- once to audit the bids, a second time to select KBA in a motion that failed and third to select KBA in a motion that passed tonight.

The issue was brought back tonight because a board attorney pointed out that Blue Cross did not submit some information and needed to be disqualified from the bid process. The board had two choices tonight -- pick KBA or restart the process and keep Blue across for another year.

But eventually the board voted 5-4 to choose KBA. But it was unclear how the estimated $8 million in savings will be used.

Some board members said the savings will be funneled back to the teachers and reduce their premiums.

"Rates will decrease under KBA. When I can basically give an employee an $800-$1,000 raise, that's a pretty good deal," board member Hunter Beasley said.

The school board had been with Blue Cross Blue Shield for 17 years, and a surveyed 80% of teachers said they wanted to stay with that provider.

In other business, the board considered getting a legal review of charter schools' applications to the state. The board rejected the proposals last month, and say it may be too late to get a state charter and the schools might need to wait until next month.

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