- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 9, 2014

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - The Calcasieu Parish School Board has voted to eliminate the district’s student athletic insurance policy because of rising premium costs and budget constraints.

The American Press reports (http://bit.ly/1eOXZNb ) parents must now provide proof of insurance or Medicaid or buy a voluntary policy through the school in order for their child to participate in athletics.

Skylar Giardina, district risk manager, said the district’s definition of school athletes includes all middle and high school athletes, student managers and trainers, cheerleaders, dance line, pep squad, band, flag team, and other students participating or supporting interscholastic competition.

Giardina said the district’s premium cost rose to $697,710 for the 2014-15 school year from $585,500 last year. The budgeted amount for the 2014-15 fiscal year was $300,000, she said.


“The responsibility has always been on the parent,” she said. “This has just been something the School Board has been able to afford to provide, but now we can’t. The parents are used to seeing this voluntary policy because it goes out every year in the student packet. It’s the same policy; it just also covers sports where it didn’t have to before because we had the compulsory policy.”

The recommendation for the board to eliminate the plan came from a committee that was asked to research options to reduce premium costs. Giardina said the committee, which only met twice last December and in May, was composed of middle and high school coaches from 14 area schools.

Giardina said only 3.5 percent of district students (about 182) don’t have insurance. Giardina said she expects that number to be lower now because of the Affordable Care Act. She said the district shopped multiple carriers and that all the bids came back roughly the same price. She said officials also looked at cutting benefits drastically from the policy but that the price was still over budget at $495,000.

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Information from: American Press, http://www.americanpress.com