Thursday, May 7, 2009

Retired educators ask for insurance relief

From left, retired New Orleans teacher Sylvia Barial, Representative Charmaine Marchand Stiaes, Representative Herbert Dixon and United Teachers of New Orleans President Larry Carter at the capitol on Thursday.

More than 100 retired teachers and school employees from New Orleans visited the capitol today to ask for relief from skyrocketing health insurance premiums.

The educators, who were summarily fired by the Orleans Parish School Board in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, are ineligible for Medicare because the school board did not pay into the Social Security System while they were employed.

They have been notified by the school board that their health insurance premiums will more than double on July 1 unless the legislature comes to the rescue.

For the past three years, lawmakers have appropriated money to keep retiree insurance premiums at a more reasonable level. This year, the United Teachers of New Orleans is building support for two bills, HB 848 by Rep. Pat Smith and SB 42 by Sen. Ed Murray, that would provide permanent funding for relief from the premiums.

The bills would also provide relief for retired educators in St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes, which were also hit hard by Katrina.

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