The Jindal administration complied with a legislative subpoena Thursday by giving lawmakers a report that could factor into plans to privatize a state employee insurance plan.
However, Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater asked Senate President Joel Chaisson II, D-Destrehan, not to publicly release the document.
“This is not a matter of secrecy, but a basic component of our ability to make decisions,” Rainwater wrote Chaisson.
For now, the state Senate is keeping secret the report by Chaffe and Associates on the Office of Group Benefits.
Brenda Hodge, a spokeswoman for the Senate, said the document was provided as part of an investigation that arose during a confirmation hearing on Jindal administration appointees.
She said the document will be kept confidential until that investigation is concluded.
The Office of Group Benefits provides health and life insurance to about a quarter-million current and retired state employees and their dependents.
The Jindal administration is contemplating hiring a private company to handle a health plan that insures more than 60,000 people. The possible privatization would eliminate nearly 150 jobs at the Office of Group Benefits.
Administration officials said in the past that privatization of the plan could net the state an upfront cash payment as well as operational savings.
Critics of the idea contend the office runs efficiently. They fear that premiums will rise under the management of a private company.
Some of the office’s plans already are outsourced to the private sector. The preferred provider organization — called PPO — is not.
A PPO is a group of doctors, hospitals and others providing health care to subscribers at reduced rates.
The administration hired New Orleans-based Chaffe and Associates to analyze the Office of Group Benefits’ financial value. Until now, that report has only been seen by high ranking members of the Jindal administration.
The Office of Group Benefits’ CEO, Scott Kipper, recently told the state Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee that he had not seen the report. Kipper submitted his resignation after facing pointed questions by legislators about the report.
Thwarted in efforts to get the document produced by Chaffe and Associates, the committee took the rare move Wednesday of issuing a subpoena for it.
Rainwater said Thursday that he gave the report to Chaisson along with a list of concerns about the public release of it.
Those concerns are spelled out in the letter to Chaisson.
In the letter, Rainwater describes the report as “a preliminary analysis of the fair market value of the Office of Group Benefits’ book of business.”
He said the state might not get the best offers from bidders if the report is available for public consumption.
“The real valuation of OGB’s book of business will be derived from the bidders’ submissions,” Rainwater wrote.