News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

July 20, 2009

If Anthem and Union can’t reach a deal, Vigo Library ready to take its business to another insurance provider

TERRE HAUTE — If Anthem and Union don’t settle their contract dispute, library officials are ready to toss both of them out.

“I wavered between writing what I’d call a mamby-pamby letter and a hardball letter,” Vigo County Public Library executive director Nancy Dowell told her board as they read two letters she had written on behalf of the library.

One letter informs Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield representatives that if its ongoing dispute with Union Hospital Health Group adversely affects library employees, the board is prepared to take its business another insurance provider. The second letter informs Union Hospital Health Group officials that Dowell might be forced to advise her staff to use another hospital. After discussion with board members, the group decided to send both letters to both entities.

“You as the board authorize the payment of over half-a-million dollars to Anthem for medical payments,” Dowell said.

Board member James Brown said he had no qualms with the tone.

“I think you ought to re-write it and make it worse,” he said, echoing comments of other members who agreed that the issue, if unresolved, could hurt their employees personally and financially. “More people need to stand up and fight for what they have and what we’ve fought to get.”

“It’s all about money,” board member William Bruce said with some disgust.

In other business, Dowell informed the board that Illinois residents working in Vigo County might not get library cards as in years past.

Dowell said that traditionally the library has allowed residents of other counties employed in Vigo to obtain a borrower’s card. But this year, the Indiana State Library Development Office has indicated that public libraries can no longer allow non-resident individuals to obtain a library card without either obtaining a Reciprocal Borrowers card or paying $53 per year.

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