I retired in January 1994 with more than 38 years of service in Lafayette Parish Government and have Medicare insurance. Employees' salaries at that time were not near what they are today. Anyone who retired with a monthly retirement benefit of $1,350 was very lucky.

Effective Nov. 1, 2005, the city-parish health insurance premium increased for employees and retirees. An employee and a retiree with single coverage both pay $72.26 monthly. An employee with family coverage pays $219.37, compared to a retiree with family coverage paying $486.26, causing the retiree to pay $266.89, or 121 percent more monthly, than the employee. A retiree receiving $1,350 in monthly retirement benefits and paying $482.26 for insurance would leave the retiree with only $863.74 monthly to live on, which is almost impossible to survive on in this day and age.

During the last 18 months, under Joey Durel's administration and the present city-parish council, a retiree's insurance premium with family coverage has increased by $147.36 or 43.5 percent monthly.

A greater injustice with the insurance plan is that a retiree with Medicare is paying the same identical premium as a regular retiree. Medicare is the primary insurance for a retiree who is eligible for Medicare coverage, leaving the city-parish plan as a supplement to Medicare. For example, on a medical claim of $1,430 with deductibles met, the city-parish plan pays $1,144 on the regular retiree's claim, compared to $129.84 for the Medicare retiree's claim. The plan pays $1,014.16, or 781 percent, more for the regular retiree's claim, yet both retirees pay the same exact monthly premium of $486.26. All other governments have lower premiums for retirees with Medicare.

Durel's administration needs to recognize the inequity of treating retirees in a different manner and correct it, whereby everyone will be treated fairly and equally or else switch the city-parish government's coverage to an outside insurance company for the best premiums and benefits for all concerned.

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