Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Employees with State Group Benefits may lose jobs

Hundreds of state employees could soon lose their jobs thanks to streamlining efforts. An effort to compare state insurance coverage with private providers could put most employees from the Office of Group Benefits out of work. Right now that comparison process is just getting started.

The Division of Administration is currently working on officially asking private insurance providers to give price estimates, so they can compare those numbers with state costs.

Private companies already administer two of the three available insurance options for state employees. The third option is run by the Office of Group Benefits, but thanks to a new bid process that could change.

In the next couple of weeks, state officials say they will get estimates from other providers. They will then pick the highest quality and most cost-efficient choice. If the insurance provided by the state doesn't measure up, about 200 workers could lose their jobs. Governor Bobby Jindal says in the long run he thinks it will help more state workers by providing better coverage.

The CEO of the Office of Group Benefits says he expects bids from other providers by the end of the month. Sometime after that, they'll know if hundreds of their employees will lose jobs.

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