LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL)— In yet another 5-4 split vote — the last of three such split votes Wednesday night — Lafayette Parish School Board members voted to switch its third-party health insurance provider from Blue Cross Blue Shield to Key Benefit Administrators.

Tom Remlinger, the chief operating officer of the Indianapolis-based insurance company, promised board members a savings of up to $8 million, but opponents of the move worried their current physicians and other health care providers would not accept the new insurance. Others were critical of the process used to select KBA, lamenting the school board's alleged lack of transparency.

The night was not without controversy. Board members voted 5-4 to move the insurance proposal from introductory status to action. But former board member Mike Hefner insisted a supermajority — or six votes — was required to make such moves. The school board continued its discussions, unable to find any reference to the supermajority requirement in either board policy or Robert's Rules of Order.

Then, in another 5-4 vote, board members rejected a motion to remain with Blue Cross Blue Shield while it restarted its search for another insurance provider, a move which was recommended by board attorney Roger Hamilton earlier in the evening.

The final 5-4 vote was to adopt KBA as the school system's third-party insurance provider.

Gregory Awbrey, Mark Babineaux, Shelton Cobb, and Tommy Angelle voted to reject all bids and restart the search process while continuing with Blue Cross Blue Shield for another year. Hunter Beasley, Kermit Boullion, Mark Cockerham, Rae Trahan, and Tehmi Chassion voted against the measure.

Beasley, Bouillion, Cockerham, Trahan, and Chassion voted to adopt KBA as the new health insurance provider. Awbrey, Babineaux, Cockerham, Trahan, and Chassion voted against that measure.

The school system had been a customer of Blue Cross Blue Shield for 17 years.

Side Notes

  • The board considered a proposal for a legal review of the charter schools application process. The school board rejected the type 1 charter applications of two charter schools at its last meeting, also on a 5-4 vote.
  • Board members voted to change the name of the Truman Montessori School to Truman Early Childhood Education Center. Apparently, the school had not been registered as a Montessori academy, so in order to avoid a public misconception, school system officials recommended the name change.