District 24 State Senator Elbert Guillory (R-Opelousas) announces plans to file legislation to aid retirees affected by rising insurance costs. Under the developing plan, retirees from the four state retirement systems - Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana, Louisiana School Employees’ Retirement System, and Louisiana State Police Retirement System – will receive an additional $50 per month for a period of 12 months, beginning in July.

Senator Guillory says that he believes the plan would be greatly beneficial to retirees in light of recent Office of Group Benefits changes, “Health and wellness expenses will more than consume the permanent benefit increase we were able to give retirees during the last legislative session. After seeing the heart-wrenching testimony of these seniors, I believe something must be done.”

The plan would be a one-time set of transition payments and funded from the state’s experience account. Senator Guillory believes that in order for the idea to become law, the use of experience account funds must be balanced with additional protection for the soundness of the system. This will avoid eroding the savings of last year’s legislation.

“This is only the beginning of the great task that lies ahead for the legislature in the coming year: providing our retirees with quality health care at an affordable price,” said Senator Guillory. “The legislature is constitutionally charged with providing for the retirement of these public servants. We must acknowledge that health care is an essential component of this duty. We must preserve the well-being of these folks without forcing them to descend into poverty.”

The legislation is currently in the process of being drafted and will be introduced prior to the 2015 Regular Legislative Session, which begins on April 13, 2015.