County, School Employees Still Covered

[MARCH 2, 2000]  Employees of Logan County and Lincoln Elementary School District 27 will continue to have health insurance coverage even though their insurer, American Health Care Providers, Inc. (AHCP) may be insolvent.


Feb. 25 the Illinois Department of Insurance announced that it had filed a petition with the Circuit Court of Cook County requesting that AHCP be liquidated on the grounds that it is "statutorily insolvent," according to Public Information Officer Nan Nases.

The insurance company, based in Richton Park, a Chicago suburb, has been under a conservation order since Feb. 2, she said, after the Department of Insurance had reviewed the companyís financial records. The conservation order means that the director of the Department of Insurance, Nathaniel S. Shapo, now has control over AHCPís records and assets, which will be preserved for the benefit of its creditors.

"Our complaint alleges that the Health Maintenance Organization is insolvent," Nases said. "A hearing is scheduled on March 9, although we donít know if the judge will make a ruling on it that day. We do expect AHCP to challenge our complaint. But if the court agrees with our findings and enters an order of liquidation, AHCP will be out of business."

However, people who are now insured will still have access to health care, Nases said. "Until the court issues a final order of liquidation their coverage should be intact. As usual, they will still have to pay deductibles and co-payments."

The existing conservation order prohibits all providers, such as doctors and hospitals, from trying to recover costs directly from those enrolled in AHCP. According to Director Shapo, any enrollee being directly billed by a provider or collection agency should contact a member of the conservatorís staff on site at American at (708) 503-5000.

Even if the company is liquidated, Nases said, the Illinois Health Maintenance Organization Guaranty Association will pay eligible claims of AHCP enrollees who live in Illinois, subject to a statutory limitation of $300,000. Nases said Illinois is fortunate in being one of the few states that have such an organization to protect residents enrolled in HMOís which become insolvent.



Paul Gleason, chairman of the Logan County Board insurance committee, said the board was aware of the problem and that they are working on solutions. At one point some employees had problems getting coverage for medication purchases but that situation has now been rectified. "All county workers are covered at this time, including drug benefits," he said. "Somebody somewhere put wrong information into a computer but itís straightened out now."

He said even before the petition for liquidation was filed, the county board had decided to advertise for bids for health insurance from other companies when the current contract expired on June 30.

No official comment was available from School District 27 today, but several teachers who wish to remain off the record said there had been problems with claims being paid by the insurance company for some time.

One claim made last May has not been paid, and others from October are still outstanding. "Some people are getting calls from their providers about wanting their money," a source said. "The providers are calling the insurance company and finding out itís in trouble."

The school district has had the contract with AHCP for only one year, and some people were opposed to signing up with that particular company at the time, according to another source.

The company, incorporated in 1984, primarily covers commercial groups, state and federal employees, Illinois Department of Public Aid enrollees and federal Medicare HMO enrollees in Northern and Central Illinois. It also has business in Indiana and Arkansas. As of Dec. 31, 1999, the company had approximately 90,000 enrollees.

[Joan Crabb]


The Science Behind the Signs

[MARCH 2, 2000]  Campaign signs are in competition with the tulips in announcing the arrival of spring. Yellow, purple, red, orange and gray appear to be the colors of choice for Logan County candidates. There are hand-stenciled, printed, silk-screened, and write-in signs sticking out of the ground on wire frames and wooden stakes, and the signs are as varied as the flowers in a spring bouquet. All designed to get the voterís attention and a vote for the candidate.


Yard signs show grass-roots support for candidates. Sometimes that grass-root support is so strong that residents place the signs of opposing candidates in the same front yard, possibly indicating a split vote between a husband and wife. Signs or placards are the most used and more cost-effective manner in which political candidates advertise. The double-sided yard signs get voterís attention coming and going.


Campaign color choices are varied. Colors are sometimes chosen using the results of scientific studies that have shown the effects that particular colors will have on our minds. Many of the candidates take their color schemes into consideration when determining the colors of their campaigns, while those without a scientific bent choose their colors as a result of something that may be personally meaningful to them, such as their favorite colors, their community high school colors, national colors, or they may follow tradition and use the colors that may have helped them to get elected in the past.


Robert Borowiak, owner of Lincoln Printers, said that most of the candidates that come into his shop know what they want, they have their designs, have done research on their colors and know how many signs they will need when they get there. "A basic order consists of about 200 to 400, 17Ĺ by 22Ĺ yard signs at a cost of about $250.00 per order." Borowiak added, "At one time everyone wanted their placards printed with their pictures on them but now that seems to be passť." He was told that green and blue are good colors and that red was hard to look at.


Borowiak uses a poly art blend for his signs. It is a polyester paper that is very tough. It's cheaper than silk screens and it's water and sunlight-resistant. It doesnít scratch, tear or fade, and they last forever so they can be reused. He said he knows a candidate who re-used the same signs for 10 years. Key Printing owner, Tom Seggelke, contracts with a sign company to have political signs made because the weatherproof signs are too thick to run through his offset presses.



Yard signs are more cost-effective than other forms of advertising because the signs can be used for the length of the campaign and then reused in future campaigns. Having signs printed in black and white is also a cost saver.

Whatever the strategy, yard signs have become a part of our landscape and are here to stay. Color is reflected light, but does it really help us to see our candidates more clearly? Only the winners may know for sure.


[Kym C. Ammons-Scott]


People v. David JD Fries

[MARCH 1, 2000]  Logan County Stateís Attorney Bill Workman has announced that a suspect has been arrested in the armed robbery of two Kroger employees that occurred on April 13, 1999, at the Logan County Bank, 809 Woodlawn Road, Lincoln, Logan County, Illinois.

The Lincoln Police Department obtained a warrant for the arrest of David JD Fries, 21, white male, who resides at 709 Peoria St. Washington, Illinois. Fries was arrested by the Washington Police Department on the Logan County warrant at 8:00 p.m. Feb. 29, 2000.

The two-count information that has been filed in Logan County Case charges that Fries, while armed with a handgun, intentionally took a large sum of United Stateís currency ($10,000), from two persons employed by Kroger.

I wish to recognize and commend the Lincoln Police Department and Detective John Bunner for their hard Work and persistence in the investigation of this crime for the past ten months. This case demonstrates the best in cooperation between law enforcement agencies. Other Departments that were instrumental in assisting with the apprehension of Fries include the Peoria County Sheriffís Department, the Illinois State Police and the Washington Police Department.

Officer Bob Rawlins of the Lincoln Police department is the Coordinator for our local Crime Stoppers organization. A special thanks goes out to Crime Stoppers for their assistance in the apprehension of this subject. Because of calls made providing tips and information on this crime to Crime Stoppers over the past ten months, evidence has been obtained that has led to the arrest of Fries.


I believe it is also important to note that many of the calls with information that were received about this offense came into the Peoria County Crime Stoppers. If citizens have any information of a crime that has been committed, we encourage them to call with that information. They do not have to identify themselves and may remain anonymous. As this case demonstrates, the information does not have to involve a crime in your own community. Law enforcement relies on the cooperation and support of citizens, such as those who helped in this case, to keep our communities safe.

David JD Fries will be arraigned in Logan County Circuit Court in the near future. He is currently being held in the Tazewell County Jail until he is transported to Logan County.

The investigation of this crime is ongoing.


[Bill Workman, Logan County Stateís Attorney]


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