Livingston Parish changes employee health insurance plan

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Robyn Landrum remembers back to when she began working for Livingston Parish six months ago.

"That was great, yeah it was really nice," said Landrum.

Landrum, along with about 140 other parish employees, had full coverage health insurance for themselves and their immediate family members but thanks to a council vote, that will soon change to 100 percent coverage for employees but only 50 percent for spouses and dependants.

"I think everybody is still a little worried about it," added Landrum.

The parish will use the savings to implement a two-phase system that will give pay raises to employees like Landrum. Parish President Layton Ricks says rising insurance costs created the need for the new plan.

"We inherited a situation here at the parish where inherited a tremendous package for the employees that the budget simply will not sustain anymore," said Ricks.

The insurance changes and subsequent pay raises will affect some parish employees differently based on current job scales, but according to Ricks, the move was necessary in order to help the parish financially in the long run.

"At the end of the day it's going to be somewhere around nine-and-a-half percent savings to the budget which I think the public will appreciate because it won't solve our problems  but it is a big step in getting that process started," added Ricks.

Human resource giant Aon Hewitt estimates that nationally employers in the private sector fund about 80 percent of their workers health insurance premiums.

"We did have it good and it would be great if it could have stayed that way but things have to change and they did what they had to do, they didn't really have a choice," said Landrum.

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