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Day Before Shareholders Meeting, People’s Action Exposes BCBS Business Model Reliant on Denying Care

Contact: Johanna Kichton, press@peoplesaction.org, 202.660.0605

WASHINGTON, D.C.–People’s Action’s Care Over Cost campaign today rallied people across the country at Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) offices to demand the private health corporation and companies associated with the BCBS brand stop denying care to its members and put people over profit. Formerly Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Elevance Health’s business model relies on denying members care and reaping the profits–last year they reported taking in $8.5 billion. Care Over Cost sent their demands in a new letter to Elevance Health CEO Gail Boudreaux and BCBS Association CEO Kim Keck.

“Everyone deserves health care whenever they need it, but Elevance Health and other Blue Cross Blue Shield plans routinely deny their members care to pad their own pockets,” People’s Action Care Over Cost strategist Ryan Greenwood said. “Today, Care Over Cost leaders fought back to expose their profit-driven scheme that hurts people who need health care. The system works for the people in charge of it–private health insurance CEOs–but not for the people who need care. We demand Elevance listen to the public and its members and put member care before Elevance’s profit.”

“I’ve been forced to suffer through migraines for the last six months because Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois won’t pay for a drug my doctor prescribed,” ONE Northside leader Mia said. “While I’m still waiting to get medication that will help me, I’m fighting back with my community and people across the country. Private health insurers need to see the human cost to their greed.”

Care Over Cost’s demands to Elevance Health/Anthem BCBS include:

  • Stop denying claims;
  • Transparency for claim denial data;
  • Transfer power to deny claims and consider appeals to neutral public authorities;
  • Publicly meet with policyholders and the community to discuss this issue; and
  • Reverse current claim denial fights.

People’s Action Care Over Cost organizations in Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Iowa held actions where member leaders delivered the demand letter and petition signatures to Anthem BCBS/Elevance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois/Health Care Services Corporation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield. Each action included a rally, remarks from people experiencing claims denials, and a letter delivery to BCBS staff. The day of action was preceded by Elevance Health’s refusal last November to acknowledge the 70 Elevance members who visited their national headquarters. 

The new letter to Elevance Health CEO Gail Boudreaux and BCBSA CEO Kim Keck may be found here. Images and video from the day of action may be found here.

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People’s Action builds the power of poor and working people in urban, rural, and suburban areas to win change through issue fights and elections. We are a national network of 40 state and local grassroots power-building organizations in 29 states–united in the work of building a bigger “we.”

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Press Contact
Johanna Kichton

(202) 660-0605

About People’s Action Institute

Over five decades, People’s Action Institute and our affiliates have fought for reforms that recognize poor and working people’s dignity and make material and political improvements to millions of lives. Our victories include the Community Reinvestment Act, Superfund, the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act and the MAT Act.

We engage in issue campaigns, public education and training to advance a long-term agenda for racial, economic and gender justice. Our focus now is on deepening community organizing so we can build lasting power across the country. 

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