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PPOs: Pig people or preferred providers?

Business Insurance Magazine
Are health insurers greedy pigs? They are, according to the California consumer group that crafted landmark Patient Bill of Rights legislation.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights has launched an animated Internet campaign, "Pig People from Outer Space," attacking health insurers. The video specifically targets former WellPoint Inc. CEO Leonard Schaeffer, whose wallet got significantly fatter as a result of the Woodland Hills, Calif.-based insurer's merger with Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc.

The objective is to communicate to the masses as simply as possible what is really happening with their health care dollars, said Jerry Flanagan, a spokesman for the Los Angeles-based consumer watchdog group.

"And what better example of health insurance greed than the recent Wellpoint-Blue Cross-Anthem merger," he said. Mr. Schaeffer and other Wellpoint executives have been criticized for the amount of compensation that they were awarded in the merger. "It's emblematic of a problem across the board in insurance companies," Mr. Flanagan said.

Mr. Schaeffer declined to comment.

Those who visit the Web site, www.consumerwatchdog.org/healthcare/PigPeople/ , can sign a petition urging state lawmakers to enact legislation making health insurance subject to the same pre-approval requirements as other lines of insurance under Proposition 103.

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