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Thousands Complained to State Since Blue Cross California Merger

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Aired 4/19/09

Blue Cross of California is defending itself against charges that it hasn't lived up to the promises it made when the company merged with an Indiana insurer in 2004. State regulators say they've received more than 4,000 complaints about Blue Cross since the merger. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

To win state approval of the merger, Blue Cross promised to improve services to Californians.

But many Blue Cross members complain the company has raised rates and refused to cover needed medical services.

Blue Cross says it's bringing innovative insurance plans to Californians.

Jerry Flanagan is with the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights .

Flanagan : It's innovative in the sense that it's innovating new profits for Blue Cross, but it certainly isn't a benefit to Californians, and in fact, we're paying more money for less coverage.

State regulators say they're evaluating whether Blue Cross has violated its pre-merger agreement. If so, the state could fine the company, and even suspend its license to do business.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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