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WellPoint Cuts Workers' Health Insurance Benefits

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WellPoint health insurance company, which has encouraged its employees to lobby against health care reform, is now cutting their benefits.

The insurance giant plans to raise deductibles and premiums for some of its employee health benefits. "Your cost per paycheck will probably increase," said a memo to Wellpoint employees that was obtained by Bloomberg News.

The company blamed the recession for the cuts. "Like many employers in today's economic environment, we are looking at all aspects of our business," including benefits, "and making adjustments to ensure we can continue to operate competitively in the future," wrote Chief Human Resources Officer Randy Brown.

WellPoint's CEO, Angela Braly, made nearly $10 million in 2008.

WellPoint illegally pressured California employees this summer to fight health care reform, according to Consumer Watchdog. "Regrettably, the congressional legislation, as currently passed by four of the five key committees in Congress, does not meet our definition of responsible and sustainable reform," said the company's Anthem Blue Cross unit in a company e-mail. The proposals would hurt the company by "causing tens of millions of Americans to lose their private coverage and end up in a government-run plan."

A House investigation found that WellPoint also rewarded employees for finding ways to drop policyholders who developed expensive conditions -- a practice known as rescission.

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