Iberia Parish Insurance Plan Woes

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Iberia Parish government workers could see their insurance premiums jump as much as 5 percent in 2013, which means parish workers like Jennifer Hotard could be paying double the money a month for her insurance.

“I understand the cost of it going up, but with us not getting the raise that they promised us it's difficult to meet that it's frustrating,” said Hotard.

Premiums are going up, because the parish's healthcare provider is charging $600,000 more than they did in 2012.

The parish isn't able to take on the extra costs, so the burden lies on the parish workers who are looking for more fair wages.

“New workers, about five of them, are on the 2012 pay scale all the other workers are stuck at 2008 we want our raise.”

The parish approved wage increases in 2012 for workers starting that year and after. The increase was not retroactive. So workers starting in 2011 for example would have to work two and a half years before they made the wage of worker starting in 2012 and after.

But healthcare might not even be issue come April 1st when the current plan expires.

According to parish council member Ricky Gonsoulin, if the council votes to keep the current plan workers could avoid the increases their insurer says will come in 2014 from the Affordable Care Act.

“You know we need to stay grandfathered in our premiums may go up drastically in 2014, so by staying grandfathered we can almost assure ourselves our premiums may stay close when they're going to be this year,” said Gonsoulin.

Parish President Romo Romero says he has no doubts there will be a healthcare plan for workers come April 1st. He says he refuses to consider the idea of them going without one.

“No, we can't just especially the people at the lower salary we cannot afford to take care of those people,” said Romero.

Daren Roberts

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