Health insurance companies have always claimed that they support “affordable, high-quality health care for every American” and are supportive of health care reform efforts and not simply concerned with their profits. To try to project this image of compassion for the uninsured, WellPoint Inc. — which recently came under fire for planning double-digit rate hikes in at least eleven states — pledged three years ago to use its charitable foundation to spend $30 million to assist the uninsured receive care.
A new investigative report by the Los Angeles Times finds that WellPoint’s foundation has completely failed to meet its promise of spending $30 million to help the uninsured. Rather, the company spent $6.2 million — a paltry 11 percent of what the company promised:
WellPoint’s public records indicate that from 2007 to 2009 the foundation gave less than $6.2 million in grants targeted specifically at helping uninsured Americans get access to coverage and care — barely one-fifth of what was promised and just 11% of the charity’s total giving over the last three years.
“It was just not something that the company really wanted to do,” said one former executive, who, like others interviewed for this story, asked not to be identified out of concern that discussing WellPoint could have adverse career consequences. “So it went by the wayside.”
The Times created a graph that charts WellPoint’s charitable giving since 2007 and showed how little of the insurers’ charitable spending actually went to helping the uninsured:
An investigation by Congress earlier this year found that WellPoint’s Chief Executive Angela F. Braly had a salary of $1.1 million last year and stock options valuing approximately $8.5 million, meaning that the company couldn’t spend anywhere near what it spends on just one of its own employees to help the uninsured it claims to care about.