Tatje gets insurance contract – again; Labat says he won’t veto action

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 15, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / May 15, 1999

LAPLACE – The pendulum swung back and Consolidated Health Care, represented by Natalie Tatje of LaPlace, won the one-year contract for hospitalization insurance for the parish’s 248 employees Tuesday night.

Parish President Arnold Labat, who vetoed the council’s earlier decision to sign with Consolidated, pledged he would not veto this action.

Voting in favor of Consolidated were Councilmen Steve Thornton, Nickie Monica, Duaine Duffy, Kevin Duhon and Joel McTopy. Voting against werePerry Bailey, Clinton “Rock” Perrilloux, Ranney Wilson and Dale Wolfe.

On April 13, the parish approved a self-insurance plan to be administered by Consolidated Health Care and Tatje. On April 22, Labat vetoed theaction. On April 27, the Parish Council failed to override that veto, whichleft parish employees with their current insurance carrier, United HealthCare, administered by LaPlace agent David Millet Jr.

Representatives from United HealthCare told the council they get a discount on health care bills from their insurance provider, and parish employee Pete Cazelas presented some of his personal medical bills which illustrated discounts of 60 to 90 percent.

Labat argued in previous meetings that the parish employees’ hospitalization claims have been rising every year, being $1.4 million in1997 and $1.7 million in 1998. However, according to Tatje, what was actually paid out was approximately $680,000, with the remainder of the premiums covering management costs, among other expenses. United HealthCare had asked fora 13.8 percent increase in monthly premiums paid by the parish.”The truth came out,” Tatje said, “but they were still coming back for a rate increase.”According to the self-funding insurance plan touted by Tatje, their claims fund now contains $831,000 – more than enough to cover claims such as those in 1998.

Tatje argued that, should diminishing volumes of claims develop, the parish could realize a profit from operation of the plan.

“I’m willing to take that chance,” McTopy said.

Bailey and Wilson liked the plan offered by the Police Jury Association, one which never came into serious consideration by the majority of the council. Wolfe commented, “I was just trying to get the best deal for theemployees.”Labat’s veto of another action, to increase the dental plan coverage of $1,000 per person per year to $1,500, received no council attention. Thefirst veto vote voided the Consolidated contract, so a vote on the dental plan was unnecessary.

In his veto message, Labat suggested “that the parish leave the coverage at $1,000 and self-insure the additional $500 in coverage.”In other activity, the Parish Council denied a resolution of support for an apartment complex for the mentally-handicapped, planned on Cambridge Drive between the skating rink and the bowling alley.

Whitney Joseph had earlier urged the resolution but on Tuesday night, urged tabling the motion, confronted by several representatives of the Cambridge Community Action Group who attended to speak against the proposal.

Cambridge residents suggested placing the facility near River Parishes Hospital as an alternative to the Cambridge residential area.

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