Huffpost Politics

Leslie Margolin, Former Blue Cross President, Speaks Out Against Insurance Giant's Plan To Spike Rates

Posted: Updated:

Leslie Margolin, who recently resigned as president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, is speaking out against a plan put forth by the health insurance company earlier this year to increase the cost of individual coverage plans by as much as 39 percent.

Margolin claims she urged the insurance giant to reconsider its intention to spike its rates and to explore alternative solutions to lower the cost of care, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"I thought the rates were too high," explained the former Blue Cross president. "I thought the impact on our membership was too significant."

But back in February, when Margolin testified before California lawmakers on the plan to boost premiums, the then-Blue Cross executive sang a slightly different tune.

"I will do anything I can do to take costs out of the system," she explained, stopping short of condemning the plan.

California Assemblyman Dave Jones, the Democratic chair of the Assembly Health Committee, made it clear he wasn't content with the response.

"Have you no shame?" he charged.

The Times reports that since then, Margolin says she pushed Blue Cross parent company WellPoint Inc. internally to withdraw, or at minimum reduce, the rate increases. She also recommended the insurance company issue an apology to its health care customers over the plan.

"We have impacted individual consumers in ways that were so significant for those individuals," she said in March. "And for that, I personally feel very, very sorry."

The change in attitude exhibited by Margolin now seems likely to have been a sizable factor in her recent split from WellPoint.

Last month, in announcing she would step down from her post, Margolin, as well as WellPoint, signaled that the split was a mutual decision. In a statement, the insurance company called the outgoing executive "a champion of innovative initiatives that improve patient safety and quality outcomes."

But now, a source familiar with the developments leading up to Margolin's resignation, tells the Times that it was the former president's shift in management style that prompted her to be forced out form her post.

"Her undoing was that she rocked the boat and wanted to do things a different way," said the individual, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "She wasn't a good corporate soldier."