7575 Jefferson Highway, Box 35
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
For Immediate Release July 20, 2015
For more information contact
Marilee Cash, tel.
E. M. LaMont, email LA.Verite2015@outlook.com
Administration Heads for Court
The lawsuit was brought by a group of state employees, teachers and retirees, who are asking the court to overturn changes to OGB’s health plans that took effect March 1. Representing the plaintiffs is J.Arthur Smith III of the Smith Law Firm of Baton Rouge.
The plaintiffs allege that changes forced on them by OGB were not enacted legally and they were denied a reasonable opportunity, as required by the Louisiana Administrative Procedure Act, to comment on the proposed changes. The plaintiffs further allege that the OGB and the administration violated due process, the contracts clause of the Louisiana Constitution and their fiduciary duties to plan participants. The plaintiffs also allege that increased costs and decreased benefits pose a financial hardship that limits their access to healthcare services and needed medicines.
Plaintiff Marilee Cash, a retiree, said the goal of the lawsuit is to protect the approximately 230,000 state employees, teachers, retirees and their dependents who have health insurance through the Office of Group Benefits. “Large increases in out-of-pocket expenses, combined with withheld pay increases for active employees and cost-of-living adjustments for retirees, pose a financial hardship for many people covered by OGB,” she said. “Our compensation has not kept up with inflation during Gov. Jindal’s administration, due to mismanagement of state funds and poor fiscal decisions. Before March 1, our healthcare costs and insurance premiums were manageable. Now these increased costs have put healthcare services out of reach for many dedicated public servants and retirees.”
The administration claims the changes were made to preserve the Group Benefits reserve, which has been drastically reduced as OGB reduced premium revenue while paying out increasing medical claims expenses. The fund, created by the premiums paid by those who are insured, stood at about $500 million just two years ago. Less than half remains.
The Jindal administration drew down the reserve by reducing employer contributions in order to balance the state budget.
An association formed to fund the lawsuit, LA VERITE’ 2015, is registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State. LA VERITE’ is French for TRUTH, and stands for Louisiana Voices of Employees and Retirees for Insurance Truth and Equity. There are no dues and membership is open to any active or retired state employee, teacher, or other interested individual.
End of press release.
Thank you for reading this article and donating to the cause. On July 22nd, I am making my novel Zion FREE all day for readers. Please download a copy and enjoy. If you like Talk About the South, join the email list for updates.
Note: I am a plaintiff in this lawsuit. I have nothing to do with managing the funds covering litigation other than making personal donations and raising money.
Dayne Sherman is the author of the novels Zion and Welcome to the Fallen Paradise, both print and ebooks. Signed first editions are available from the author. And he does not speak for any of his employers.
Dayne Sherman, Writer & Speaker
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