Health Insurance

Just what did Blue Shield promise?

Just what did Blue Shield promise?

To win state regulators' approval for its purchase of a rival health insurer, Blue Shield of California promised (among other things) to contribute $14 million annually for 10 years to healthcare-related charities to improve access to care. Not long after the state issued a news release trumpeting that pledge, however, Blue Shield made it clear that it was not going to contribute $14 million more per year. In fact, executives said the nonprofit already had been contributing a considerably larger amount, on average, than $14 million. The new commitment, they said, simply set a floor for future donations.

Bait and switch? Not at all, the company insists. But the public could be...