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Parish keeps United Health as healthcare provider

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / March 28, 1998

LAPLACE – Civil service employees of St. John the Baptist Parish won’t bechanging health care plans, as the Parish Council voted Wednesday night in a special meeting to keep United Health Care Services.

United Health is coming up on its third year of association with the parish and edged out proposals from five other companies for a two-year deal.

The Parish Council’s Insurance Committee, chaired by Parish Council Chairman Duaine Duffy, voted 5-3 to recommend United Health over plans submitted by Ochsner, SmartPlan, Gulf South Health, Blue Cross and Aetna.

The two most-favored health plans were those of United Health Care and Ocshner. Duffy said Ochsner’s plan was “a real savings” and “veryattractive,” prompting his initial support.

According to a rate summary provided to the committee members, United Health Care’s total annual cost was $935,332, with a 3.5 percent savingsover the 1997 plan cost. Ochsner’s offer was $762,909 total annual cost, adecrease of 18.4 percent over the 1997 plan cost.However, as Assistant Economic Development Director Erick St. Amantpointed out, “You can’t compare apples to apples,” and he added 135 parish employees would have to change their primary care physicians.

In addition, United Health Care’s hospital associations are with 16 regional hospitals. Ochsner does not have such associations with St.Charles Parish Hospital, Luling, or with Thibodaux General Hospital, most often used by west bank employees. United Health also is associated withChildren’s Hospital, while Ochsner is not.

United Health is also associated with more area pharmacies and physicians than Ochsner, according to a study provided to the Parish Council by Dave Millet Insurance Agency.

“The total premium is staying below $1 million, so that’s good,” Duffy noted.

Voting in favor were Parish Councilmen Perry Bailey, Ranney Wilson, Kevin Duhon and “Rock” Perrilloux, and St. Amant. Voting against were Duffy,Parish Councilman Steven Thornton and Chief Administrator Pat McTopy.

During the special council meeting, however, Duffy changed his vote to go along with the committee recommendation, and United Health got the council’s nod by a 6-1 vote, with Thornton against and Parish Councilmen Nickie Monica and Joel McTopy absent.

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