There’s been a lot of coverage about the departure of Leslie Margolin as the CEO of Anthem Blue Cross of California.
That’s too be expected: Anthem Blue Cross became the poster child for bad behavior by insurers during the health reform fight… and the fact that they had to pull back their rate hikes of up to 39% didn’t help their image.
That said, this is the California subsidiary of a much larger company–the largest insurer in the nation, and it’s unclear how much of the practices we documented at www.sickofbluecross.com, or other issues, are due to one executive.
Nevertheless, hopefully this news development provides the opportunity for the company to start anew. Health reform provide new rules of the road–rules that Anthem Blue Cross opposed, and was the most vigorous in the industry in opposing, both at the state level in 2007, and during the federal debate in 2009.
The question now is whether they will accept the new rules to live by and adopt a new business model, one where they compete on cost and quality–or whether the company pushes against the new oversight, and tries to find new ways to avoid people who actually need care.
From rescissions to rate hikes, from opposition to reform to upstreaming dollars to their corporate parent, Anthem Blue Cross has been traditionally seen as a bad actor in the marketplace. Will they take the opportunity of health reform and new leadership to change that? That’s the big question.