WellPoint CEO Braly Faces Sharp Criticism At Shareholders Meeting
"Pressure is mounting on WellPoint Inc. Chief Executive Angela Braly, who faced tough questions about the health insurer's practices at its annual shareholders meeting Tuesday, before the gathering ended abruptly after a director collapsed," The Wall Street Journal reports. "Ms. Braly is trying to quell concerns about her company's highly public feud with the Obama administration over its pricing practices and allegations, which Wellpoint disputes, that the company drops coverage for women with breast cancer." At the shareholders meeting, Braly faced questions on the steep rate increases WellPoint had proposed. "After the meeting ended, about 100 protesters gathered outside WellPoint's Indianapolis headquarters. The Main Street Alliance, a group of small-business owners ... called on Ms. Braly to end the company's 'public-relations death spiral.' ... WellPoint's stock fell almost 10% on April 30, the day after the company disclosed mathematical errors in its California rate filing, and it hasn't rebounded" (Johnson, 5/19).
The Associated Press: The meeting ended abruptly when William H.T. Bush, 71, the brother of President George H.W. Bush and a member of WellPoint's board of directors, collapsed during the meeting. Before this event, the meeting was marked by contention. "Several company critics attended the meeting. Arlene Zarembka, an attorney from Clayton, Mo., told WellPoint CEO Angela Braly that her insurance premiums for herself and her one employee were jumping 28 percent - an increase she called 'outrageous.' Zarembka asked Braly if WellPoint would end its opposition to federal oversight of premium increases. ...
Braly outlined several factors that affect premiums, including the rising cost of care and the health of people in an insurer's risk pool" (Murphy, 5/18).