Treasurer Kennedy Says State Should Be Forthcoming on Controversial Changes

BATON ROUGE, LA – State Treasurer John Kennedy said Monday that state employees, schoolteachers and state retirees deserve more information on dramatic changes taking place to their health care coverage under the Office of State Group Benefits (OGB). “Show people more details, not more Power Points,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “They need to see those details in writing. Tell them which hospitals they can go to. Tell them which doctors they can see. Tell cancer patients whether they can still go to M.D. Anderson for treatment.”
The Office of Group Benefits, under the management of the Division of Administration, has recently implemented dramatic changes to the benefit structure of the health plan that insures thousands of state workers, retired state workers, schoolteachers, retired schoolteachers and their dependents. Members are seeing rising premiums, increased deductibles, shrinking benefits and limited access to health care facilities as a result. “The raiding of the $520 million OGB cash reserve that was set aside to pay claims in order to balance the state budget has caused this rationing of health care. Taxpayers, employees and retirees deserve to know the truth,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “They deserve to know why they’re being asked to shoulder the consequences of bad budget practices.”

In recent years, OGB plan premiums were intentionally reduced. Since state agencies pay a 75% share of an employee’s plan premium, the reductions had the effect of lowering the amount of money the state has to put up while forcing OGB to burn up its once $500 million in cash reserves to pay for claims.
“This entire mess reminds me of Obamacare. It’s time to slow this train down,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “Let’s go back to the drawing board and fix the problems with OGB with fairness and transparency. Let’s do it right this time.”

Michelle Millhollon
(225) 342-0012