|WellPoint Refutes Special Interest Misrepresentations|
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 8, 2004--WellPoint Health Networks (NYSE:WLP) today sent the following letter to California State Senator Deborah Ortiz.
"This letter refutes gross misrepresentations by Jamie Court's special interest group regarding the tax status of the Company's California operating subsidiary," said Ken Ferber, staff vice president, WellPoint.
WellPoint Health Networks Inc. serves the health care needs of more than 15.3 million medical members and approximately 46 million specialty members nationwide through Blue Cross of California, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin, HealthLink and UNICARE. Visit WellPoint on the web at www.wellpoint.com. Blue Cross of California, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
July 8, 2004 Senator Deborah Ortiz State Capitol, Room 5114 Sacramento, CA 95814 Dear Senator Ortiz: According to a press statement issued today by Jamie Court's organization, you are planning to appear at his press conference tomorrow to announce an investigation of the unfounded allegations made by Mr. Court regarding Blue Cross' tax status. Since Mr. Court has misrepresented Blue Cross' tax status, I want to apprise you of the facts. Contrary to Mr. Court's assertion, Blue Cross is not exempted from any state taxes that other insurers and health care service plans pay in California. All companies like Blue Cross, which are regulated by the California Department of Managed Health Care, are required to pay state income taxes. The only exception is for non-profits which are tax exempt. Since 1996, when Blue Cross became a taxpaying entity, it has paid all required state taxes and its tax payments have been audited by the State of California. BC Life & Health Insurance Company is regulated by the Department of Insurance and is required to pay premium tax like all other California insurance entities regulated by the Department of Insurance. This company has also paid all required state taxes and has been audited. Last year, Blue Cross and BC Life & Health paid a total of $89.6 million in taxes to the State of California pursuant to California law, an amount we believe far exceeds the tax payments of any other health insurance company operating in California. Over the past five years, Blue Cross and BC Life & Health have together paid over $299.4 million in state income taxes and premium taxes. Our biggest competitor, Kaiser, is tax exempt. Prior to the press conference tomorrow, we would be happy to meet with you to discuss these matters and to clear up any unnecessary concerns that Mr. Court's inaccurate statements may have caused. Sincerely, Thomas Geiser Executive Vice President General Counsel
CONTACT: WellPoint Health Networks Ken Ferber, 805-557-6794 (Media) John Cygul, 805-557-6789 (Investor) SOURCE: WellPoint Health Networks