CareFirst Sale Ignores

Needs of Subscribers

I've read with great interest your article ["Does It Pay to Sell?", Extra, Oct. 24] on the sale of CareFirst. While it appears that everyone has his or her hand out waiting for the money to flow, you seem to have forgotten the current subscribers.

Since leaving my primary employer seven years ago, I have been an individual contract holder with Blue Cross, now CareFirst, in the District. My current annual premium, covering both my wife and me, is $14,640. When I first subscribed back in 1996, my annual premium was $4,572. My coverage has the highest deductible available, so I don't have the most expensive coverage.

The current subscribers have created the value that Wellpoint and others see in CareFirst. If there were no subscribers, CareFirst would be worth nothing. The reserves on the books of CareFirst are mainly the result of premiums exceeding reimbursements and other costs. Said another way, this is profit from selling health care coverage by a nonprofit provider.

Why shouldn't the subscribers receive something? We are the ones who created the value, not, in all due respect, the Rev. [Anthony] Evans. At minimum, shouldn't the subscriber be guaranteed the rates will be reduced, fixed for a period or receive a guarantee that Wellpoint will not just drop at-risk subscribers?

Your article ignores the subscriber. You only reported one side of the story.

R.J. Mulligan

Kalorama