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Health reform protesters decry WellPoint salaries

May 15, 2007

Anger over "excessive salaries" and "bloated administrative costs" at WellPoint Inc. will bring a crowd of protesters to demonstrate outside the health benefits firm's annual shareholder meeting tomorrow.

Hoosiers for a Common Sense Health Plan hopes to draw about 50 people to the protest on Monument Circle, where WellPoint's corporate headquarters is located.

"They are really emblematic of all that is wrong with the U.S. health care system," Julia Vaughn, organizer of Hoosiers for a Common Sense Health Plan, said of WellPoint. She cited WellPoint CEO Larry C. Glasscock's multimillion-dollar compensation.

In addition, WellPoint's administrative costs and profits consumed 19 percent of its revenue last year-far more than at Medicare, the federal health care program for the poor, which claims administrative costs of 2 percent.

The protesters will advocate a national, government-paid system of health insurance for all Americans that would relegate WellPoint to merely a third-party administrator of benefits.

Vaughn and Bloomington physician Rob Stone, who are WellPoint stockholders, also plan to attend the shareholders meeting and discuss their concerns with WellPoint's board of directors.

WellPoint spokesman Jim Kappel said, "WellPoint's executive team has been and continues to lead a company that is helping to hold down the rising cost of health care."

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