Anthem gift will sponsor resource guide for seniors

The Central Indiana Council on Aging helps elderly and disabled people live independently in part by serving as a go-to source of information.

Shopping for adult day care? Call CICOA. Need a hot meal delivered? Call CICOA. In fact, the agency’s hot line fields 40,000 calls a year.

The call center staff can help people figure out whom to contact next. Often, people simply need more information. And with that, CICOA sends out its Solutions Guide, 129 pages of phone numbers for care providers and assistance agencies in eight counties.

This year, for the first time, the contents of the guide will be incorporated into CICOA’s Web site (, thanks to a $45,390 grant from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

"We’re seeing that people are continuing to want the Web site to be more robust, more of a resource for them," said Tom Fagan, vice president of development. The Web site receives 138,900 hits a year.

Anthem’s gift will also cover the expense of updating and publishing the print guide, which is distributed to 7,500 people.

Because of budget constraints, CICOA had been publishing the guide every other year, Fagan said, but Anthem’s gift will allow for a 2009-2010 edition, and updates to the Web site throughout the year.

"It’s the first time this publication has been sponsored," Fagan said.

CICOA gets most of its funding from the state and federal governments. Fagan said that’s why the organization was thrilled to find a private-sector sponsor for one of its key products.

"We think it’s very important that we find private resources to help us fulfill our mission," he said. "The needs are great."

CICOA’s chairman is Jim Bixler, vice president of ethics and compliance at WellPoint Inc., the parent company of Anthem. Fagan said Bixler suggested making a proposal to the corporation’s foundation. A portion of the gift, $8,000, came from the corporation, but the remainder was a foundation grant.

The Anthem foundation distributed $2 million in grants throughout Indiana in 2008. Spokesman Tony Felts said CICOA and Anthem have a common goal in helping to improve health and quality of life.

"We recognize the work CICOA does in central Indiana," Felts said. "It’s always been important, but it’s increasingly important as our society ages."

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