February 16, 2010

February 16, 2010
Blue Cross


Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you week is off to a safe and great start.

It is slowly warming back up here in south Florida but I know many of my friends further north are still dealing with tons of snow and frigid temperatures. So I will enjoy our mild "winter" temperatures here in the south knowing I never have to worry about digging my butt out of the sunshine.

But unfortunately a lot of people are going to be digging for another reason and it has nothing to do with snow or winter.

Blue Cross has just announced that it is immediately raising premiums charged to hundreds of thousands of individual customers by as much as 39% even though their parent company's profits soared to a record $4.7 billion last year.1

Even worse, the insurer has so far refused to explain why they are increasing their rates, and warned that they might do so again this year without warning.

The Obama administration is demanding answers from Anthem Blue Cross, and Congress has opened an investigation.2 But Blue Cross is only going to respond if this story becomes a major public relations problem for them.

So it is time to turn up the heat. Let us join the growing call for an explanation and send a powerful public message that these abuses by Big Insurance are unacceptable.

http://pol.moveon.org/bluecross/o.pl?id=18911-11736877-2I4b9Lx&t=3

The petition says: "Anthem Blue Cross must provide a detailed explanation for their exorbitant rate increases, or else roll them back immediately."

These latest rate increases in California reportedly the largest ever by Blue Cross for individual policyholders in the state are yet another powerful example of how badly broken our health care system is and how desperately we need to hold Big Insurance accountable for exploiting their customers.

Anthem Blue Cross's parent company made record profits last year despite losing 1.4 million customers increasing their profit margins by cherry picking the healthiest people to insure.3

Then they can turn around and dramatically increase the rates they charge to the customers they have kept, because there is almost no rules governing rate increases. In fact, the company does not even have to publicly reveal how many customers' rates they have increased, or by how much.

The good news is that Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services, is already publicly demanding answers from the company. And the House Energy and Commerce Committee has announced plans to hold hearings to investigate.

But to get Anthem to clean up their act and show politicians and the media that we can't afford any more abuses by Big Insurance we all need to lend our voices. Clicking here will your name to the petition:

http://pol.moveon.org/bluecross/o.pl?id=18911-11736877-2I4b9Lx&t=4

Thanks for all you do.

–Kat, Michael, Carrie, Stephen, and the rest of the team

Sources:

1. "Anthem Blue Cross dramatically raising rates for Californians with individual health policies," The Los Angeles Times, February 4, 2010 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=86432&id=18911-11736877-2I4b9Lx&t=5

"WellPoint sees profit grow eightfold in fourth quarter," The Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2010 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=86433&id=18911-11736877-2I4b9Lx&t=6

2. "Sebelius Calls on Anthem Blue Cross to Publicly Justify 39 Percent Premium Increase," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, February 8, 2010 http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/02/20100208c.html

"Congress opens probe into Anthem Blue Cross rate increases," The Los Angeles Times, February 10, 2010 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=86434&id=18911-11736877-2I4b9Lx&t=7

3. "Waxman and Stupak to WellPoint: We Request Your Testimony," Office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, February 9, 2010 http://www.speaker.gov/blog/?p=2149

So contact the link above and share your voice against Blue Cross raising their rates. Your voice does matter and count.

Have a great rest of your week. Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,



Daddy Dab