Increased insurance costs worry retired teacher

Published: Apr. 3, 2023 at 8:11 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The Calcasieu School Board is raising what it charges to those on its health insurance plan. The deductible is increasing along with the monthly premium.

“It’s tough. In these days, it’s tough,” said Tracey Rust, a retired teacher not yet eligible for Medicare. So, she is on the school board’s insurance plan.

She was pleased to have already met her deductible this year, only to find out it’s increasing.

“I’m on allergy shots. So, I’ve already paid $750 toward my deductible, but they have made the changes, so I have to pay another $500 to meet my deductible. For a retired teacher, that’s a chunk of change to have to come up with,” said Rust.

She says increasing expenses have also caused her to do without some things.

“I had to quit the gym I was going to. I want to stay healthy. Buying groceries has been, whew, I try to go once a week and get a few things each week,” she said.

Rust also does without cable tv and other things she’d enjoy because she can’t afford them.

“I actually go to a barber shop to get my hair cut because it tends to be a little cheaper,” she said.

A spokesperson for the school board says it’s the first increase in their deductible for nine years and helps to keep premiums to a five percent increase instead of ten.

Rust says she’ll live.

“I will survive, will do what I have to. But seriously? In the United States, we have to live like this? I worked for 33 years. It’s not like I’m complaining after working five,” she said.

The premium increase will be seventeen dollars a month for Rust. School officials say the cost increases are due to increased medical and pharmacy claims.

The Calcasieu School Board is self-insured which means those who participate in the plan are responsible for the cost. Officials encourage plan members to participate in the wellness program which results in premium savings upon completion.