INDIANAPOLIS — Protesters from the progressive Grass Roots organization People’s Action entered the headquarters of Elevance insurance company, formerly known as BlueCross BlueShield, Monday morning.
They did so after sending a list of demands and questions to the CEO and got no reply. Emotions were high, and one security guard got physical and punched one of the protesters in the face. One big issue People’s Action was protesting is insurance claim denials.
In the letter the organization sent to the CEO they were requesting actions like overturning any existing denials for treatment recommended by medical professionals and laying out the demographics of denied claims. To read the letter click here. Organizers say that they just want answers.
"We want to know the truth about where these claim denials are happening,” Jaime Izaguirre, one of the organizers of the protest said. "We want to know whether they are disproportionately impacting urban or rural folks or black people, right? It's as simple as that it needs to be known."
The organization says that private insurance companies deny over 240 million insurance claims from policyholders every year. One person who says he has experienced this firsthand is Lane Fulton from Bloomington.
"With Anthem here, I got a latent denial on claims after I had already paid off my bills from one of my six surgeries that I had in a three-year period and that was infuriating,” Lane Fulton said. “I played by the rules, and I was still being held accountable for debt they denied after the fact, after my surgeries.”
The protesters were asked to leave the property but continued their remarks outside. While no one from Elevance addressed their concerns, they feel making their voices heard is one step toward getting insurance companies to put care over costs.
"We want this private insurance company that sits in an office in Indianapolis to know that we are not ashamed to need care and we are not ashamed to demand it," Izaguirre said.
People from as far as Texas and Iowa took part in the protest. We reached out to Elevance for a comment on the issues these protesters were wanting answers to. They replied with this statement.
“As a company that provides high-quality health benefits for 47 million people, we work every day to ensure that our consumers have access to proven medical services supported by the latest medical evidence.”
During the protests, a person can be seen being struck by a security guard within the facility.
For more information about People's Action click here.