St. John Parish Council switches health insurance providers

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 14, 2007


Staff Reporter

EDGARD – The St. John Parish Council welcomed a new health insurance carrier to cover all parish employees, saving the parish $395,000 off the roughly $3 million the parish would have spent to renew its former health provider.

The council also renewed the contract for insurance writing agent Natalie Tatje, who recently entered the race for state representative in the 57th District of the House of Representatives. Tatje’s renewal came with some dispute, although she has held the position with the parish for the past three years.

The council selected Humana as St. John Parish’s health provider at an annual cost of $2,739,348.96, or $115,052 less than the $2,854,401 the parish spent on United last year. The Humana plan will go into effect beginning June 1.

Tatje was selected as the parish’s insurance writing agent, essentially a middle-man between the parish and Humana, in a 7-1 vote with Allen St. Pierre against and Sean Roussel absent. But her position may not have been renewed if not for a disputed motion that failed to pass before the council voted her in.

In a substitute motion to contract John Millet, a local insurance policy writer, the council voted 4-4 and a motion is denied if voting ends in a tie. If the motion for John Millet passed then the council would have contracted Millet and never voted on Tatje.

However, St. Pierre claims because Councilwoman Cheryl Millet is related to John Millet the voting was done with a conflict of interest and Cheryl Millet should have abstained. Cheryl Millet voted against John Millet and had she been barred from voting, John Millet would have become the parish’s new insurance writing agent.

St. Pierre is investigating if he can fix what he claims was an erroneous decision by the council.

&#8220I’m getting some legal opinions on what I can do, but it may be that I can’t do anything,” he said. &#8220It may be that I have a point. I have to wait until I get an opinion.”

Tatje expects her renewal to have no effect on her race to replace state Rep. Robert R. &#8220Bobby” Faucheux Jr.

&#8220The state representative is a part-time job. It’s supposed to be someone in the community that you have access to and that you can talk with. I’ve always been accessible and I’m going to have my door open as state representative and try to bring money to St. James and St. John Parishes,” she said.

The election for state representative is on October 20.