When I first noticed the ad below while hunting for cookie recipes, I was surprised to see a health insurance company buying a full page in the first pages of a cooking magazine. But reading it was another surprise. The headline touts "Free Annual Checkups," and the text of the Anthem Blue Cross ad takes credit for this brand-new benefit: "100% coverage for checkups, flu shots and other preventive services."
Anthem, however, had nothing to do with the prevention benefit. It's a requirement of the federal health reforms passed last year. Blue Cross, along with every other major health insurer, fought to eliminate such mandatory benefits and later falsely blamed the law for outrageous, unjustified double-digit premium increases. (The prevention benefit is just one of the things that will disappear if the courts or Congress succeed in voiding the health reform law.)
Anthem must figure a deceptive claim of "free" care will make us feel better about insurance payments bigger than our mortgage.
It's stunts like this that drive Consumer Watchdog's efforts to beat back the insurance lobby and regulate untenable health insurance premiums.