Blue Cross is at it again…

In 2007, Anthem Blue Cross (owned by Wellpoint) took early, aggressive steps, including an early $2 million ad campaign, against health reform in California, even when other insurers were willing to consider living under new rules.

It looks like Anthem Blue Cross of California is willing to be the bad guy again in the national debate. As Ben Smith in Politico writes and excerpts, they have sent a mass E-mail to their subscribers, making false charges and repeating scare tactics about health reform proposals.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office has posted a fact check of the erroneous E-mail.

With a 33 million customer list, insurance giant Wellpoint is now actively fueling the misinformation campaign against health insurance reform and America’s Affordable Health Choices Act. In a recent email to customers, California insurer Anthem Blue Cross, a Wellpoint subsidiary, attacked the bill on key fronts.

Myth: The House bill will cause “tens of millions of Americans to lose their private coverage and end up in a government-run plan…”

Fact: Actually, according to non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), private insurance coverage will expand by 16 million under reform. And under the House bill, no one can ever be forced onto the public health insurance option. The only way someone would be in the public plan is as a result of their own individual choice…

Myth: The House bill will limit “customers’ choices of the products they can purchase and how they can purchase health coverage…”

Fact: The heart of the House bill is actually to create MORE choice and MORE options – and to help more Americans afford those options. If you have a private insurance plan now, the House bill:

* provides competition to help make your plan more affordable,

* ends the insurance company practices of discrimination based on age, pre-existing condition, or a newly discovered illness,

* ends copays for preventive care, caps what you pay out-of-pocket, but eliminates yearly or lifetime cost caps on what insurance companies pay, and

* requires a minimum set of benefits to help protect you from the fine print in a flimsy plan.

If you need to purchase health insurance, the bill creates an Insurance Exchange, providing one-stop shopping where you can compare and find the best and most affordable plan for you. All those using the Insurance Exchange will have a range of choices – various private plans, and the public plan.

Myth: The House bill will increase the “premiums of those with private coverage by imposing new mandates and coverage requirements.”

Fact: The House bill promotes competition—designed to make your private insurance premiums more affordable—and offers affordability credits to those who need them. The bill’s minimum benefit requirements (the so-called “coverage requirements” under attack) are modest (less than the average benefit offered today), will NOT lead to increased premiums, and are designed to protect Americans from insurance company whims and fine print.

Furthermore, the bill contains numerous provisions to lower your costs, with caps on what you pay but not what insurers cover, no copays for your preventive care, and ending discrimination against you for getting sick or having a pre-existing condition…

For more health insurance reform myth busting, please click here.

The blog ThinkProgress spells out the history of BlueCross’ bad behavior, which points out the irony: Anthem Blue Cross is not just an opponent of health reform: Anthem Blue Cross is the *reason* for health reform.

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