Policyholders, Prop 45 Advocates, And Nurses Deliver Manure To Blue Shield To Return Some of the B.S. Company Is Spreading In TV Ads Against Prop 45, Says Consumer Watchdog Campaign


EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Oct. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blue Shield policyholders joined with bedside nurses from the California Nurses Association, consumer advocates and other supporters of Proposition 45's rate relief measure to deliver a pickup truck of steer manure to Blue Shield's offices.

The Proposition 45 supporters said they were simply returning some of the same material that the insurance company, which has given $9.5 million of policyholder' money to the $37.5 million insurance war chest against Prop 45, has been shoveling to Californians in its deceptive advertising against the rate regulation measure.

"We're just returning to Blue Shield the B.S. that it has been spreading around California through anti-Prop 46 advertising that hides the insurance companies' funding and lies about Prop 45's impact, which simply extends to California health insurance companies the same rate regulation that exists in 35 other states and already exists for auto and home insurance in California," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog and proponent of Prop 45.

Prop 45 requires health insurance companies to get approval from the elected insurance commissioner before raising rates, but the advertising hides this fact and falsely claims that consumers have to choose between Prop 45 and "an independent commission."

The No On Prop 45 campaign's advertising has been widely branded as deceptive. Pulitzer prize winning LA Times columnist Mike Hiltzik wrote about the No On Prop 45 campaign's deceptions in his Sunday column "The 5 rules on how to kill a consumer-friendly initiative." Read the column here:  http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-20141012-column-column.html#page=1

Experts with California State University's Project for Informed Electorate showed how the advertisements were misleading and gave it poor grades on Monday in a KCRA- TV report: http://www.kcra.com/politics/adwatch-grading-the-ad-attacking-proposition-45/29110806

A widespread insurance industry advertisement against 45 has a purported "small business owner," who claims Prop 45 will hurt his business, but is in fact an actor who played Father Marquez in Modern Family. See the actor https://www.facebook.com/consumerwatchdog/photos/a.79659553246.78407.18642913246/10152398038403247/?type=1&theater 
The advertisement does not identify the actor as a paid spokesperson.

Read more about the insurance companies' false advertising claims: http://www.yeson45.org/newsrelease/new-health-insurance-company-%E2%80%98no-prop-45%E2%80%99-tv-ads-make-false-claims-about-protecting-smal

Consumer Watchdog also noted that Blue Shield has charged rates recently deemed to be unjustified by a Consumers Union review. 

Blue Shield recently raised its rates despite state filings by Consumers Union, under an Affordable Care Act grant, that found the rates unjustified based on the insurance companies' record-high surpluses, unrealistic claims projections and excessive company perks.

Blue Shield raised the rates anyway without adequately responding to those concerns. Under Proposition 45, the insurance commissioner could reject those hikes if he found them to be excessive.

Blue Shield, for example, has 1600% more in its $4.4 billion investment reserves than is required by the State of California.  Proposition 45 can stop this "over-reserving" practice of insurance companies by giving the insurance commissioner the power to prevent rate hikes if companies engage in such creative accounting.

Blue Shield policyholders spoke out today about the company's practices and deceptive advertising.

"I am in my first year with Blue Shield and am being hit with huge increases in my costs," said Joan Ehrlich, who lives in Los Angeles. "It was supposed to cover my doctors, have no deductible and nominal fixed co-pays. But instead I am paying out-of-network costs for provider care that the Blue Shield website says is covered! I had to pay half of all my bills from providers from February to September. That's why I support Prop 45. I want someone I vote for to control costs."

The nonprofit Blue Shield has also come under fire in San Francisco for having a multi-million dollar skybox at the new 49ers stadium while raising rates and cutting doctors' networks.  The company recently refused to accept a petition at its San Francisco offices from 22,000 California taxpayers and policyholders who wanted access to those tickets since their premiums and tax dollars paid for the skybox.  Watch video of that protest http://www.yeson45.org/video/kgo-tv-7-abc-sf-prop-45-supporters-protest-blue-shields-25-million-49ers-skybox

Paid for by Consumer Watchdog Campaign – Yes on 45, a coalition of consumer advocates, nurses, attorneys, and policyholders.  777 S. Figueroa St., Ste. 4050, Los Angeles, CA  90017.  Major Funding by Consumer Watchdog Campaign and California Nurses Association.

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog Campaign