BPSB Insurance Committee holds town hall meeting

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Stacey Tinsley, Bossier Press-Tribune

The Insurance Committee of the Bossier Parish School Board held a town hall meeting Thursday evening at the Bossier Instructional Center to discuss potential health insurance alternatives, answer questions and seek comments from those currently on the school district’s health plan.

“I’m very concerned. I have put in 27 years in the Bossier Parish School system and will be retiring in the next few years and I don’t want to lose the insurance that I have now. Blue Cross is a great insurance company and they have been very good to me. If I lose Blue Cross, then I will probably have to take steps to get another job. I already work three jobs. So, I guess I will find another job to be able to cover medications and things that I need,” said Kathryn Askew, a current employee with Bossier Parish Schools.

The meeting provided active employees and retirees the opportunity to learn more about different alternatives currently being considered for the current group insurance plan, which include:

*Medicare Advantage Plan
*Closed Formulary
*Employer Group Waiver Plan

“I’m worried because I am retired and we are on a fixed budget with our retirement. It makes it difficult because you have a budget planned out and here they go changing the insurance. We’ve got to go with it or get another insurance provider, if it’s too expensive. What do you do? You have to give up one thing for something else or you can’t do some things that you would like to do. We want our board members to vote the way their constituents want them to vote,” said Jean Strickland, a retired Bossier Parish school bus driver.

During the meeting, District 6 School Board member, Glenwood L. “Glen” Bullard, spoke briefly to the audience and his fellow school board members about what the board’s greatest responsibility is to Bossier Parish School System employees and Bossier Parish School System retirees.

“Just so there is no misunderstanding, this whole evening has been devoted to dollars and cents and potential cost savings for our health insurance program,” said Bullard.

“One of our greatest responsibilities is to do whatever is necessary to ensure that not only do our regular employees and our retirees have health insurance today, but 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now. And the only way we can do that is that we have to stay on top of it. We have to manage it. And regrettably, some of this will require some modification,” he added.

The Insurance Committee did not take action on the Medicare Advantage plan. It will not move further. However, the Insurance Committee approved moving forward with the Closed Formulary and EGWP plans. It will go before the full school board at its next meeting for a vote.

Due to COVID group size restrictions and social distancing requirements, three separate rooms at the Bossier Instructional Center held employees and retirees of the Bossier Parish School System who came to ask questions and comment on the district’s current health plan and different alternative plans.

The Insurance Town Hall Committee meeting can be watched on the Bossier Parish School Board YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/c/BossierParishSchoolBoard/featured

Photos by: Stacey Tinsley, Bossier Press-Tribune