Controversial Health Plan For City Employees Rejected

By Gerry May – Sep 9, 2022

Mayor Adrian Perkins, flanked by other city leaders, prepares to clarify developments on the health care plan. 

SHREVEPORT, La. — City leaders backtrack on health care. For two days, we were led to believe that a controversial three-tier insurance plan for city employees and retirees had been approved.

But it turns out that it was rejected.

The plan did get a majority vote of 4 to 3 — with one abstention from City Councilman Jerry Bowman. That came during Wednesday’s raucous Health Care Trust Fund Board meeting.

However, that board’s by-laws require a majority of 5 votes. That’s because there are 9 members. One member recently resigned and has not been replaced.

On Friday, Mayor Adrian Perkins said, “We must continue to look for what’s the best options available going forward.

“People always have been asking over the last couple of weeks, ‘Why won’t you guys just go back to what was happening before? Why won’t just keep things the same?’ And this is the reason why. It is unsustainable for the city. It is unsustainable for our employees,” Perkins continued.

Perkins says that under the current ordinance, city employees’ share of rising health care costs would double. He says that’s because the ordinance says the city should be paying 80 percent of employees health care.

Perkins calls that rise for enrollees “unacceptable.”

It’s not yet known how the city will proceed, with little time before open enrollment was to begin for 2023.

The failed plan came under fire from the city’s largest health care provider, Willis-Knighton, after it was relegated to tier two status. Willis-Knighton said its proposal skewed higher because their insurance partner, Aetna, never got a formal request for proposal — or RFP — from the city. It said the RFP would’ve contained complete data to allow them to submit their best proposal.