Civil service panel approves state insurance contractor

Aug 1, 2012

The Civil Service Commission has narrowly agreed to a Jindal administration plan to hire a private company to manage a state employee health insurance plan.

The panel voted 3-2 Wednesday to allow Blue Cross/Blue Shield to run an insurance plan in the Office of Group Benefits that covers more than 62,000 employees and their dependents. The outsourcing will take effect Jan. 1.

The move will eliminate 177 state jobs — 121 of which are currently filled.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration says the move will save as much as $20 million annually, savings split between the state and local school boards.

Opponents questioned the savings estimates, objected to the layoffs and said the current administration runs the health plan efficiently.

Blue Cross already runs a larger insurance plan for state workers.