An employee benefits specialist is recommending modest health insurance premium increases later this year for Ascension Parish school district employees.

The two United Healthcare insurance plans offered to school system employees and their families, with low premiums and low deductibles, are “the best game in town,” compared to plans offered by other employers, said Len Fontaine, an employee benefits specialist based in Houma.

Fontaine told the School Board’s insurance committee Tuesday that the district’s medical claims decreased 16 percent from Nov. 1, 2013, to May 31.

Two other patterns also emerged over this time period, Fontaine said.

School Board employees are increasingly adding family members to their plans — dependent membership in the plans increased by 48.5 percent.

Employees have also been switching at growing numbers to the school district’s lower-cost insurance plan, which works well for generally healthy people who may see a doctor a few times a year and take some prescription medicines.

Under the increases recommended by Fontaine, premium increases in Plan 1 for employees only would go from $88.78 per month to $99.43 per month, and premiums for employees with families in that plan would jump from $413.64 per month to $496.37 per month.

Premium increases in Plan 2 for employees only would go from $29.89 per month to $35.87 per month, while premiums for employees with families in that plan would increase from $199.44 per month to $249.30 per month.

The School Board will vote on the premium increases at its next meeting on July 22. The increases, if approved, would take place in November.

Also on Tuesday, members of the Strategic Planning Committee spoke about the possibility of an intergovernmental agreement that would allow the Sheriff’s Office to use the former adult education building of the now-closed West Ascension School for a substation.

West Ascension Elementary opened in Donaldsonville in 1966 and closed in 2005.

The committee also discussed plans for the School Board to put out bids for the cutting and selling of timber on woodlands the board owns in Sorrento.