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Ochsner officials pitch health plan

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / May 20, 1998

LAPLACE – The St. John the Baptist Parish Insurance Committee metMonday evening to hear Ochsner Health Plan’s proposal for group life, health and dental insurance.

The council voted March 25 to renew its insurance contract with its existing carrier, United Healthcare. But representatives from Ochsner feltthey were not properly represented at that meeting and requested a rescission of the vote and that a new vote be taken based on information they provided.

“Our purpose here is to set the record straight,” Robert Warren, director of sales for Ochsner Health Plan, said.

Warren said not many members of the current health plan would have to change doctors if a change of plans was approved. He pointed out that 80percent of the doctors of parish employees match their primary care physician list and that of United. Warren said that is above average for areplacement of plans.

Warren also said a number of doctors originally said not to be in the Ochsner network are either already in the network or being credentialed to be so. He also said St. Charles Hospital, which was previously not part ofthe network, has recently signed a contract with Ochsner.

Insurance representative Natalie Tatje, representing Ochsner, said the parish could save approximately $171,000 a year by choosing Ochsner. Shesaid she too was concerned that west bank employees would have to change doctors, but after checking she found the number of employees living in Edgard was around 30 and that these were assumed to be using physicians in St. James and Terrebonne parishes. She said many of thoseemployees kept the same doctor they had before the Mississippi River bridge was built, but now that they have the bridge they find that it is faster to go to LaPlace.

“We are giving up a lot of money for people to go to hospitals not in St.

John Parish,” Tatje said.

Councilman Duaine Duffy agreed that St. John Parish is in the unusualposition of being one of the last public service entities that does provide full insurance not only for its employees but their family members as well. Tatje said she did not have a problem with that but did have aproblem with the parish paying $171,000 more per year for something that is a benefit.

The committee approved a motion to ask the administration to include an employee census with the next paychecks, asking them to list their primary care physicians and any specialists they see. That informationwill be sent to both Ochsner and United.

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