Last week, the City of Shreveport announced it was making changes in the health insurance coverage on existing city employees, as well as coverage for retirees.  For years, Willis Knighton Health System has been part of the city insurance plan. But that is now about to change, and that change has many employees, and especially many retirees concerned about their coverage.

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The city is proposing changing the local primary healthcare provider from Willis Knighton Health System, over to Ochsner Health.  This change would drastically affect many retired city workers, including retired fire-fighters who are undergoing treatments for illnesses, including cancer treatments.  Shreveport city officials say Willis Knighton would still be an option in their plan, but it would now be a Tier 2 option, making it more expensive as an 'out of plan' option.

Former Shreveport firefighters recently addressed the city council during the council work session last Monday.  SFA Union Local President Barbara Sellers recently told KEEL News she was very concerned about the proposed changes.

"These men and women sacrificed themselves for years, putting their safety and health on the line to protect the citizens of Shreveport.  Many of them now are dealing with serious health issues, including cancer, and are undergoing treatments.  A change in their insurance coverage would be devastating for them."

Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins issued a public statement concerning the proposed changes.

"The City of Shreveport has used the general fund to pay for the increase in healthcare costs for more than a decade," said Mayor Adrian Perkins. "Instead of passing on that financial burden to employees and retirees, the city absorbed those costs. Since contributions have not kept pace with rising healthcare costs, the City of Shreveport and the Healthcare Trust Fund Board had to find a way to manage a $13 million dollar deficit."

There is a special meeting to discuss the city's healthcare options and cost proposals scheduled for September 7th.

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