WASHINGTON – On the same day as Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield’s (BCBS) annual shareholder meeting, health insurance consumers and health justice advocates launched Care Over Cost, a campaign against the behemoth network of health insurers. The campaign demands that the 36 Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates across the country, which approve and deny care for one in three Americans, put people before profit by halting premium rate increases and approving doctors’ authorizations and medical claims.
“Greedy executives at Blue Cross Blue Shield companies raked in so much profit during the pandemic that they were forced to pay rebates to their consumers,” People’s Action Health Care for All Campaign Director Connie Huynh said. “We can’t continue to put up with this abuse. Blue Cross Blue Shield should do its job and immediately put care over cost to save lives. That is what health insurance is for.”
“Physical therapy keeps me off of disability, out of the hospitals, and allows me to function. If it wasn’t for this I wouldn’t be able to work or be a productive citizen,” Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Member Holly said. “Blue Cross Blue Shield only looks at what can get them profit—and that’s why they look at ways to deny me my care. When it comes to health care, what’s in the person’s best interest should come first, not how much insurance can make in profits.”
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association licenses its name to some of the country’s largest and most profitable health insurance corporations, including Anthem, CareFirst, the Health Care Service Corporation, Wellmark, Highmark and Premera. BCBS licensees have a history of denying coverage for insured medical claims and raising rates, despite windfall profits. BCBS licensees lead the nation in denial of in-network claims, by as much as 57 percent.
The campaign will:
Organize a constituency of Blue Cross Blue Shield consumers;
Gather and share stories about how Blue Cross Blue Shield costs people their health; and
Span multiple states and target Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates.
Care Over Cost is a growing coalition of Blue Cross Blue Shield consumers and progressive health care justice organizations, currently including: People’s Action, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Maine People’s Alliance, ONE Northside, Progressive Maryland, Rights and Democracy, Take Action Minnesota, and Washington CAN.
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