Archive for anthem blue cross

Blue Cross Blue Shield health care disaster: Man with brain tumor needs care STAT, not a death panel.


Lolly Jean Twitter profile health care

One of my longtime Twitter pals, @Lolly_Jean, is desperately trying to raise the profile of what health care insurance companies are doing in the employer provided field; maybe shaming Blue Cross into allowing her husband to continue the care they have already approved, the care her husband was receiving until he became sick, will help.

She has tried tweeting to news and cable outlets to no avail. Any suggestions anyone might have to help her raise the profile of this devastating issue--for her husband and the others in employer-provided health care policies that will likely follow-- would be greatly appreciated.

Here is her story in her own words (bolding is mine):

My husband has a brain tumor and has been under care of Memorial Sloan Kettering in Manhattan, and receives his radiation treatment from Memorial Sloan Kettering in Commack, Long Island, New York. He became ill from side effects, was taken to our local hospital on January 28th, where he remains today.

We have been fighting Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield for the past 2.5 weeks, as they refuse to allow him to be transferred to Memorial Sloan in Manhattan (MSK) for acute care and resumption of his remaining radiation treatments to the brain. We receive our insurance through my husband's employer, and we pay an additionally for Direct Point of Service care, which allows us choice of doctors and facilities. To note, my husband has been under the care of Memorial Sloan Kettering for the prior 4 years.

Blue Cross, at first, wanted to transfer my husband to a hospice facility with a standing DNR (do not resuscitate) order. My husband is not in end stages of his illness.

They fought us for a precious week of treatment time until they agreed that my husband did not warrant end of life care. They still refuse to allow us to take him to MSK, where his doctors know him, have knowledge of the rare form of tumor he has, and where until 5 weeks ago, he was receiving his treatment.

As I mentioned, this is employer-provided health care. My husband's employer is advocating he be moved to MSK for the remainder of his treatment, and has been very helpful in contacting Blue Cross in advocacy of his case.

MSK is 'in network' on our plan. They accept the negotiated payment as per their contract with Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. And as I stated, we do have a Direct POS plan which allows us to go outside of network, should we choose.

To force us to change our doctors at this stage is unconscionable, immoral and dangerous.

To force us to go to a facility that cannot provide the same level of cancer care would not allow for the outcome that MSK feels my husband's condition should have.

And the more time we fight Blue Cross, my husband becomes weaker. This truly is a death panel, one run by the actuaries in Empire Blue Cross.

Please, help us by lending your voice by advocating for my husband.

By the way, here's the @AskAnthem Twitter profile. Notice the link they provide at the bottom:

Anthem on Twitter health care

Here's what you see when you follow the "customer support" link they provide, because, you know, they CARE:

anthem support health care under maintenance

I'm sure Anthem's "improving your online experience" and apologizing for "any inconvenience" are a huge comfort to Lolly Jean and her ailing husband.

You can get the ball rolling by tweeting this post to @empirebcbs (Sally Kweskin, their PR director in New York) and @askAnthem.

I don't know about you, but I'm not letting up until we get more action than a pleasant, solicitous response.


Insurance giant WellPoint, key player in #Obamacare rollout, is upbeat about exchanges


ermahgerd good news

Republicans aren't going to like this story. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that WellPoint is feeling mighty good about the Affordable Care Act, despite the glitches that are being doomsdayed all over the media.

Insurance giant WellPoint Inc., a key player in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, said it remains optimistic about the healthcare expansion despite the rocky start of a federal insurance exchange.

WellPoint's CEO Joseph Swedish, other executives, and White House officials are putting their noggins together to brainstorm about how to fix the website issues. Fixing problems. What a concept. Maybe Republicans can try it sometime.

On a conference call with analysts and investors, Swedish said public interest in the health overhaul has been strong and the call volume at the company's service center doubled during the first week of enrollment... "We remain optimistic about the long-term membership growth opportunities on the exchanges," Swedish said on the conference call, "but given that we are just three weeks into the open enrollment period, it is really too early to draw any definitive conclusions."

How thoughtless of him to throw a wrench into the GOP smear machine. Who does he think he is, a major wealthy Big Insurance player who Republicans might actually respect? The nerve.

i hate good news


Hey, Anthem Blue Cross: "Nothing else I purchase increases in cost this much."


Because I will be using #My2K to pay for my second double-digit Anthem Blue Cross premium increase (25%), I felt compelled to post this L.A. Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Anthem plans average rate hike of 18%," Business, Nov. 28

Anthem Blue Cross' spokesman may blame his company's rising costs on the economic downturn, which he says causes people to avoid buying insurance. But as a longtime Anthem policyholder, that's not the reason I've thought about dropping coverage. Plain and simple, it's Anthem's double-digit rate increases. Nothing else I purchase increases in cost this much.

Not too long ago, I received a tiny refund check because Anthem failed to meet the minimum requirement that 80% of premiums go toward medical costs. Maybe Anthem should start getting more efficient before blaming everyone else for why policyholders are leaving.

Steven Coker

Los Angeles


"I will be penalized for having health insurance... Who, exactly, protects people like me?"


Today's L.A. Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

It makes him sick

Re "Calif. health insurers to boost rates," Feb. 23

Once again I will be penalized for having health insurance.

As an individual policyholder, I have what is known in the trade as "catastrophic" insurance, with a $5,800 yearly deductible — recently raised from $5,000 — that I have never met (thank goodness) at a monthly premium of $508.

Based on this article, I can expect Anthem Blue Cross to raise my monthly premium 8% to 14%.

I am well aware of just how many lawmakers' pockets are lined with insurance money. I am disgusted by the insurance industry lobbyists, and I am disheartened by the lack of oversight of these jackals.

Who, exactly, protects people like me?

Jaime Marshall
Santa Monica