Police, Firefighter Unions Sue Indianapolis Over Health Care

INDIANAPOLIS, IN &#8211 The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police and Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Union have sued the city in response to proposed changes to health insurance plans for 2015.

Union leaders have argued that the proposed new insurance plan breaks existing contracts with the city.

The issue, Mike Reeves, president of the firefighter union said Monday, is that the city wants to eliminate the range of options that existed in the previous plan, opting instead for a high deductible health plan from Anthem.

“It’s not that we’re unwilling to work with them,” he said. “We don’t think they have the contractual abilities to do that.”

A statement posted on the FOP website says that leaders did not want to pursue legal action but filed the lawsuits after being informed by Mayor Greg Ballard’s office that the city would not change its stance on the issue.

The city, meanwhile, has said the change in plans shouldn’t come as a shock to employees, said Mark Lotter, spokesman for Mayor Greg Ballard. Many employees are already on new plans, which are consumer-driven, focus more on employee wellness and encouraging healthy habits by sharing costs between employees and the city, he said.

“These plans are in wide use by the private sector and in state government,” Lotter said. “There are employees in city government who have been using these plans for a number of years.”

The local American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees union is also affected by city heath plans, but Reeves said they are currently in contract negotiations that could involve the health plan.

From The Indianapolis Star