In a letter sent today, a dozen statewide consumer and community organizations advocates, including Health Access California, Consumers Union, CALPIRG, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, Children Now, Congress of California Seniors, SEIU, and Western Center on Law and Poverty– today urged the President and CEO of Blue Shield of California, one of the state’s largest nonprofit insurers, to contribute $140 million over the next 10 years to its charitable foundation, and not renege on the conditions of its merger with Care1st as understood by state regulators. The nonprofit insurer is expected to make a decision about its yearly charitable contribution to its foundation at a meeting this month.
Nonprofit insurer Blue Shield, with a $4 billion reserve, is now publicly stating that it is only treating the $14 million/year requirement as a “floor,” despite typically averaging a $35 million/year contribution to the Blue Shield Foundation.
“When Blue Shield decides its annual contribution to its foundation, we want to indicate that Californians expect Blue Shield to honor its charitable commitment, that as it becomes larger, would increase its contributions to its foundation to support the state safety net. After its approved merger with Care1st, we are puzzled why Blue Shield would think that it would be OK to get bigger but make its commitments smaller,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “Californians will be watching to see if Blue Shield abides by the letter and spirit of its commitments, from its charitable contributions to the quality of care it provides. Blue Shield advertises itself as a nonprofit with a public service mission and should act accordingly.”