Georgia is making major changes to the health care benefits offered to employees of school systems across the state, and the effects will begin to hit home during the open-enrollment period this fall, Fulton County Superintendent Cindy Loe told the county Board of Education on Sept. 9.

The changes will affect about 75 percent of Fulton school employees, said David Helton, the executive director for fiscal services.

Starting Jan. 1, Blue Cross and Blue Shield will no longer be an option for public school employees, and Kaiser Permanente will not take any new members. Kaiser will leave the program altogether Jan. 1, 2010.

In Fulton, an estimated 3,000 school employees are with Blue Cross, and 1,500 are with Kaiser.

Teachers and other school workers will be left with a choice between United Healthcare and Cigna, each of which will offer a PPO, an HMO, a high-deductible plan and a reimbursement account.

In addition to individual and family insurance, people will have two new options for coverage: employee plus spouse and employee plus children.