Round 27: Blue Cross Blue Shield vs CNN

This is Round 27 in our Worst Company in America contest, Blue Cross Blue Shield vs CNN. Vote which sucks more, inside…

Here’s what our readers said when they nominated these two companies:

Blue Cross Blue Shield:
“operate on “screw the customer” as their guiding principle. “
“for sending out those letters to get Dr.’s to rat out any patients that they think might have had a pre-existing condition when they signed up, no matter how long it’s been since they signed up, and then lying about it in a press release. I won’t even touch on their capricious rate increases and cancellations of the past.”
“They have made an art of denying claims and coverage to people with valid claims. “

CNN: The commenter who nominated CNN did so in the following nomination comment: “Blackwater, Halliburton, Exxon, Diebold, Fox, CNN and the NY Times.” I think you can figure out from the context why CNN is on this person’s shitlist.

This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2008 series. The companies nominated for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. Keep track of all the goings on at

Gamestop vs Monster Cable, Bank Of America vs Toys R’ Us
Toshiba vs Microsoft
US Airways vs Washington Mutual
American Airlines vs Blockbuster
Time Warner Cable vs Radioshack
Wellpoint vs Charter Cable
Dell vs Home Depot
Sears vs Citibank
Wal-Mart vs TJMaxx
Mattel vs ATT
Capital One vs Video Professor
eBay/Paypal vs COX
Apple vs SallieMae
Diebold Vs Pfizer
MTV vs TransUnion
CompUSA vs DirecTV
Target vs Best Buy
Allstate vs Verizon
DeBeers vs 1800 flowers
Starbucks vs United Airlines
Exxon vs Crocs
Google Vs Sony
Ticketmaster vs Wachovia
Facebook vs The American Arbitration Association
Comcast vs Menu Foods

(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. elf6c says:

    CNN and NY Times? But not Fox News, yes we can see EXACTLY why. But why Consumersist fell for it, that’s another question.

  2. Charybdis says:

    No votey clicky?

  3. MerylBurbank says:

    Where’s the vote button?

  4. PunditGuy says:

    Medical insurance company versus Satan = tough call. Versus inept media company = no contest.

  5. B says:

    @elf6c: Well, the commentator did put Fox on the list. Maybe they are pissed about the cancellation of Firefly or Arrested Development.

  6. soldierblue says:

    CNN? What? >_>

  7. rmz says:

    If BCBS has any less than 90% of the vote, I will be disappointed. There’s really no reason for CNN to be on here.

  8. coan_net says:

    Is anyone seeing the vote option?

  9. Truthie says:

    Keep in mind there is no one company called Blue Cross Blue Shield. It is a group of different regional insurance companies that share a brand and network, but they have very different policies and attitudes.

    It would be unfair and inaccurate to lump them together as one company. Some BCBS affiliates are actually quite good. Some are awful.

  10. ThunderRoad says:

    No contest on this one, just need a vote button.

    BTW, where is the current winner/loser ladder listed?

  11. woogychuck says:

    I can has vote?

  12. Finally! A contest. Let’s see. BCBS screws its customers. CNN harbors right wing nutjobs like Glenn Beck who enable the sort of political climate that, among other things, allows BCBS to continue screwing its customers, all while claiming to be the news network more Americans trust. Hard. Really hard. I might have to flip a coin once you people get the votey-clicky thingy up.

  13. Truthie says:

    Blue Cross Blue Shield is not one company. It is an association of independent regional insurance companies that share a brand and network. Each company operates independently and has its own policies, and their actions and decisions can vary significantly.

    It’s unfair and inaccurate to lump all the BCBS affiliates together as one company. A few of them are pretty good overall. Some of them are awful. But the point is they are not all the same. Heck, there are even two separate BCBS companies in California (Blue Cross of CA and Blue Shield of CA).

  14. unklegwar says:

    Uh. Where’s the VOTING applet?

  15. Traveshamockery says:


    Liberal Propaganda FTW!


  16. pmathews says:


    Perhaps that’s part of the joke…?

  17. mike says:

    It’s not news. It’s CNN

  18. SuffolkHouse says:

    Bullsh!t. They are responsible for their brand. Why should I care more about respect for their brand than they show for dying people?

  19. BuriedCaesar says:

    No TV-related outfit really has “news” anymore – it’s all advertainment or infotainment or advertorials masquerading as “news”.

  20. SuperRad says:

    They already had a poll on Wellpoint VS. Charter. Wellpoint is now Anthem and anthem is Bluecross/Bluesheild.

    Source: i used to work for Wellpoint.

  21. Bladefist says:

    I voted CNN. Worst News channel ever. I refuse to watch them ever again since the youTube debates.

  22. Bladefist says:

    @BuriedCaesar: Yea, because people are incapable of leaving their idiotic opinions out of it.

  23. Corydon says:

    Let’s face it: CNN (along with ALL of the other cable news networks, heck pretty much ALL American news organizations) is crap. Weeks of coverage of Anna Nicole Smith? Political coverage that focuses on what Senator Clinton is wearing? Not to mention news stories during the run-up to the Iraq war that were practically written by the government.

    All of that having been said, as long as you understand that CNN (and Fox and MSNBC) are entertainment networks, not news networks, you can adjust your filtering accordingly.

    BCBS on the other hand, is just plain evil. They make a profit from deliberately denying service not based on your medical needs but on their bottom line. I personally have had nothing but trouble with them since the very first day I was “covered” by their organization.

    BCBS is the best rationale I can think of for government run healthcare, and that’s saying a lot.

  24. kimdog says:

    This has been the hardest match up for me. I hate CNN, which has become a pitiful tabloid-esque excuse for news reporting. But I can always get my news other places. But if Blue Cross Blue Shield is your insurance company… your screwed. My vote goes to BCBS.

  25. Truthie says:

    @SuffolkHouse: It’s not about the brand, its about the fact that these are different companies. How can you blame one company for the faults of another?

    NO ONE has an insurance policy with Blur Cross Blue Shield. You have a policy with BCBS of Florida. or Anthem BCBS. or CareFirst BCBS.

    It’s like the STAR System ATM. yes, there may be a bunch of crappy banks, but just because some bank of part of the same ATM network as Bank of America doesn’t make them any worse.

    Are you going to hold BCBS of Florida or BCBS of Illinois responsible for the decisions of Blue Shield of California, even though they have zero influence over that company?

    Keep in mind several BCBS insurers are either nonprofit or (at least partially) owned by a state government, while others are private behemoths like Anthem/WellPoint. Again, you can’t lump them together.

  26. shan6 says:


    I find myself agreeing with a republican. I guess I can live with that for now.

  27. Falconfire says:

    not even a contest. Blue Cross bid our contract for insurance assuring us that they would provide the exact same services, THEN turned around a year into the contract and denied claims we could take with our previous services.

  28. lilkeith7 says:

    May I ask where you guys get your news if its not from CNN? Im not trying to start anything just interested in other places to get news since I mostly use CNN.

  29. plustax says:

    @truthie: Which Blue Cross Blue Shield company do you work for?

  30. JustaConsumer says:

    Obviously you are connected to the internet, use that for news. CNN has become a neocon tool since they became part of Time-Warner. CNN has stopped reporting the news and started trying to make the news. It has become clear that their neocon bias pervades all their “reporting”.

  31. nequam says:

    Switch the goddamn channel. Problem solved.

  32. Nighthawke says:

    CNN crashed and burned when 9/11 hit the bricks. They had a lot of conflicts in information coming in, repetitive reports going out, their webpage was next to useless even after they went HTML lite.

    The best sources on that day was and IRC. They stayed up and we had onsite folks firing off reports on the pages that kept us up to date and was surprisingly accurate. The start of Web 2.0 was on that day when the citizen started to report the news as it happened.

  33. Pasketti says:

    I get my news from Google News. Since it spans a variety of news sites, you’re not locked into one editorial viewpoint.


  34. Imakeholesinu says:

    Big Pharma, shame on you.

  35. Trai_Dep says:

    CNN isn’t the tabloidest of the tabloid TV shows, and they weren’t the jingoistest of the jingoist TV shows carrying the GOP’s water for Operation Desert Fiasco.

    Fox wins that score, by several fathoms.

    Bit of trivia: 30% and higher of Fox News viewers still believe that Iraq caused 9/11. Gather from that what you will. Besides Fox should be tried on treason.

    Blue Cross, on the other hand, is in a class by itself.

  36. I hesitate to vote for BCBS. Despite their initial asshattery in regards to my Dad’s care, they have really come thru as of late (once I learned who to work the system).

  37. plustax says:

    So I was just reading an email that I received from my insurance carrier (Aetna) about their delay in their ending coverage of monitored anesthesia for colonoscopies. They said because of misinformation given to the public from websites (like the consumerist I’d imagine) they delayed pulling the plug on covering anesthesia. They didn’t say they were abandoning their plans just yet just delaying them until they can strong arm their members into agreeing to stop using monitored anesthesia in favor of the cheaper sedation methods. I would guess most of the BCBS affiliates will do the same and drop their coverage of monitored anesthesia if they haven’t already.

    As I get older, insurance companies make me very nervous and anxious. That’s a shame.

  38. evilfremen says:

    I still don’t agree with having subsidaries nominated. It should be the whole company. Thought that when MTV was up as well. These are huge media conglomerates, and we are only singling out one little subsidary. Whole companies shoudl be nominated, or not at all.

  39. YesIworkForBCBSXX says:

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) is a national federation of 39 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

    You can’t say ALL BCBS plans are bad or evil or whatever. There are even some that are GOOD. So by the same token, you could call them ALL good? I think not.

  40. redqueenmeg says:

    I vote BCBS. Did you know that if you lose your job and are told your coverage is “through the last day of the month,” so July 31 or whatever, that only means through midnight ON July 31? So nothing on July 31 is actually covered? Standard procedure for them.

  41. Tonguetied says:

    Was it CNN that promised Saddam’s government that they would not cover negative news from Iraq in exchange for being allowed to maintain a bureau there? Result: Slanted news and outright lies broadcast from this supposedly independent news agency.

  42. DrGirlfriend says:

    I agree that it’s iffy with BCBS, because each state has its own BCBS entity. I’ve run across good and bad BCBS’s

    I really despise CNN, and the joke it’s turning into. Also, just noticed a little t-shirt icon next to some of their headlines – I guess you can now get t-shirts with some of the “funnier” or stranger headlines? Urgh.

  43. youbastid says:
  44. iMe2 says:

    @InfiniTrent: I wish. Let’s rehash:

    Dobbs: Faux “independent” blue-collar spokesman; racist, anti-immigrant
    Cooper: “Look at me I look so pretty in hurricanes!” [serious face]
    Blitzer: “Thanks for that excellent reporting, somebody else”
    King: “Was that your take on it, Paris?”

    And do I have to go into HLN? Nancy Grace, Glenn Beck…gag

  45. Truthie says:

    I don’t work at BCBS nor have I ever worked for any health insurance company. But I have had experiences with two BCBS insurance companies when living in different states. And I find it ridiculous that a reciprocal-exchange network that doesn’t exist as a single company can be nominated for anything (whether it’s best or worst). I think it honestly reflects poorly on Consumerist and shows a lack of understanding and/or research. Would you say that because Capital One issues Visa cards and your local nonprofit credit union offers Visa cards, all Visa card issuers including your local credit union should be evaluated as a whole?

    For example, my experiences with Blue Cross of California were awful and represent everything bad about health insurance companies. No surprise, they are part of Wellpoint, the Evil Empire of health insurance. My experiences with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina were great, though — they both had very good customer service and never really created any problems when paying a claim. Maybe this is because they were non-profit and chartered by the state government of NC. An apples and oranges comparison.

    If you’re nominating a health insurance company, why not United Healthcare? They are the company who paid their former CEO (accused in the whole stock options backdating scandal) $160 million to get rid of him. Now that could pay for a lot of health care.

  46. Angryrider says:

    Too easy. Blue Cross Blue Shield. They’ve got millions of Americans by the balls, deciding if it is financially viable for you to get that next checkup.

  47. Bladefist says:

    @shan6: You’ve taken the first step. Congratulations.

  48. johnva says:

    @truthie: UHC *is* a contestant. I would imagine they’ll be quite a contender.

  49. framitz says:

    I can’t complain about Blue Cross, they have paid some very large bills for surgery for me with no hassles at all, Something near 1/2 million of which I paid only a few hundred. Never had any problem with them whatsoever.

    CNN on the other hand is so biased as to have NO credibility at all.

  50. Bladefist says:

    @Trai_Dep: 30% of Fox Viwers are liberal.

  51. plustax says:

    @truthie: Well that sounds like a better tone out of you. You were sounding like a BCBS PR rep there. When I worked for the State of California while I was living in Chicago I had either BC or BS of California. The admin people at my doctor’s offices were often impressed with their coverage and impressed by their high limits on coverage. Now that was over a decade ago and things may have changed.

    But of course I was with the state government as well which we all know they usually get really good benefits and would be in a very large group plan due to the volume of employees they’d have to cover so they are little more sensitive to their subscribers needs. I’d suspect that small firms like my current employee would not have the same level of service a huge state government would have.

  52. stopNgoBeau says:

    Most BCBS companies are not-for-profit (not same as non-profit). They aren’t as evil as some of the other BCBS companies out there. They should really not lump all of them in with each other. When your claim is denied, it isn’t denied by BCBS, its denied by the local insurance group. The only reason they share the same brand is so that I can go from one location to another and still stay “in-network”.

  53. k6richar says:

    company that tries to deny you coverage, possibly putting your life at risk VS poor news coverage.

    life vs news
    really hard choice there consumerist.

  54. karmaghost says:

    I don’t really have a beef with either. This is the first time I abstain. (Is that the right word?)

  55. Zombilina says:

    @Bladefist: And masochists.

  56. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: Y’know, in a way I respect Fox News. They are kind of honest about being pro-corporate fascists. CNN and the networks are a bit more covert about being the same, to the point that a lot of suckers actually believe they are “liberal”.

  57. samurailynn says:

    There are no good health insurance companies.

    To everyone complaining that Blue Cross Blue Shield is run by several separate entities – I would be completely willing to vote against “health insurance companies” rather than specifically Blue Cross.

  58. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: being pro-corporate means being pro-you, pro-citizens making a living for themselves, and making innovation. If thats fascism, then I accept that term.

    If you think CNN is not liberal, then you need help. Go watch the republican debate on CNN. The fact that you think that, makes me want to pull my hair out.

  59. youbastid says:

    @johnva: What part of “Fair and Balanced” comes off as honest to you?

  60. mikelotus says:

    The problem is that BC/BS is not a single company. Some are better than others. Who is the head of BC/BS that even get any meaning out of this? And what the hell do I care about CNN?

  61. Dillenger69 says:

    CNN may tell me I’m screwed, but The insurance company can actually screw me.

  62. says:

    this is not a good match up. the two don’t have a common “piss off” factor, like best buy vs. walmart or something.

  63. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: Just because they’re not as right-wing as Fox does not mean they’re not right-wing. If they were not right-wing they would have destroyed this Administration by now, just like the press did to Nixon. CNN is conservative and pro-establishment in any objective sense of the word. Don’t confuse their occasional show of messing with Republicans with their overall agenda. They have been cheerleaders for the warmongers too, and to understand why, you just need to follow the money. Defense contractors and oil companies profit from war. They “win” even if we all lose.

    @youbastid: Oh, I don’t mean they’re honest in the sense that they “tell the truth”. They’re just “honest” in the sense that everyone understands what their real agenda is. CNN, not so much.

  64. banmojo says:

    This is a no brainer. As I’ve posted before, health insurance companies take 40-45% of every dollar WE give them and pocket it as pure profit. Consumers have GOT to wise up to what’s going on and demand their representatives do something about it NOW. Health insurance is something that should not be allowed to operate in a ‘free market’ fashion – health care is something that should be inviolate, highly ethically bound. MDs are supposed to abide by high high ethical standards, so should health insurance, pharmaceuticals, biotech, and hospitals. This is a very fixable problem – one that the f$#@ing politician piece of feces are great at pointing OUT to us, but are useless in coming up with a viable solution. (like so many other failed governmental policies such as the ‘war on drugs’, the penal system, the social welfare system, etc.)

  65. hejustlaughs says:

    this is why i get my news from the onion!

  66. kyle4 says:

    Anderson Cooper is good and I used to watch a lot of CNN so I voted Blue Cross BS.

  67. humphrmi says:

    All your votes are belong to us

  68. @Bladefist: They’re bad, sure. But not Fox News bad. I mean, come on. Since when does cleavage trump reporting talent? Since 1996 when Fox News put T&A into ALL of their content. How do you sell right-wing bullshit that’s been discredited for decades? Have some blonde airhead with big fake tits say it. CNN still gets the ‘evil’ award because they at least APPEAR to be a legitimate news organization.

  69. Froggmann says:

    CNN is so blown out of the water on this one, there isn’t even floatasim left over. Lets see a news agency that sometimes puts it’s own spin on things or an insurance company that bails out on you when you most need them. No contest.

  70. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: Paranoid much?

  71. bjcolby15 says:

    CNN, because I prefer to get my news free of some snobby news anchor looking down their nose and saying, “ew, we have to actually report the facts instead of making them up?”

  72. JustaConsumer says:

    This is another bad matchup. Should have been CNN vs. Monster Cable.

  73. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: Not paranoid, just reflecting the reality of how decisions get made in this country.

  74. Skankingmike says:

    @lilkeith7: I personally either use BBC or i just surf the Net. Digg is also fun, i don’t know if it’s NEWS in the same sense that BBC is news but it’s pretty funny.

  75. BlackFlag55 says:

    Blue Cross Blue Shield hands down. CNN can’t hold you hostage when your life hangs in the balance. And BC/BS was in it up to their eyeballs (late 1960s) when health insurers were theorizing how to convert their product from a function of the free market into a commoditized necessity shifting costs from what consumers were willing to pay in a competitive pricing environment to the five stage process of creating socialized healthcare which guarantees their profits. They suck beyond all comprehension. Further I cannot say without risking banishment.

    CNN are just lip gloss and hair spray swine bellying up to the hog trough of PR fax blasts and calling it news.

  76. Trai_Dep says:

    @bjcolby15: Umm, you do realize that you just confessed to preferring watching news networks that just make sh*t up, right?

    Lemme guess… Fox?

    And if you think that O’Reilly isn’t a multimillionaire elitist snickering condescendingly at you guys once the cameras are switched off, I pity you.

  77. Lambasted says:

    @Corydon: Ditto!!!

    CNN used to be the “Walter Cronkite” of news integrity. Now it’s no better than Fox and MSNBC for biased, sensationalized reporting.

    I think people are so sick of entertainment-focused news that if a network went back to old school hard-hitting reporting with honest to goodness stories without the Hollywood grabbing headlines, it would sweep ratings.

    I often watch BBC news because it’s the only place I can watch news without tarted up female newscasters, sensationalized stories, political bickering mixed in.

    Health insurance companies are murdering swine whose practice of denying services ultimately kills people.

  78. sgodun says:

    BCBS by a mile. CNN hasn’t resulted in the deaths of anyone so far as I can tell.

  79. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    It gives me great joy to vote for BCBS.

    Yes, I know they’re separate companies…that just happen to have the same name. But the fact is:

    BCBS of GA = SUCK
    BCBS of CA = SUCK

    Epic failure to actually provide the insurance you pay for makes you worse than CNN, BCBS.

  80. jswilson64 says:

    This is one of the worst (if not the worst) “company” designations in the vote-off. As many have already said, “BlueCross BlueShield” isn’t a nationwide company. Each state is different, some are for-profit, some are not-for-profit, the only thing they have in common is that they license the BCBS trademarks. If BCBS of Rhode Island denied your claim, BCBS of Oklahoma had nothing to do with it.

    Having BCBS in there is more like “worst brand in America” – not “worst company.”

  81. jswilson64 says:

    @banmojo: How can a not-for-profit insurance company make a profit?

  82. asherchang2 says:

    So… difficult… to chose… Consulting the comments…

  83. Mary says:

    @jswilson64: Exactly. My particular flavor of Blue Cross cannot deny you coverage for pre-existing conditions. Ever. It’s in the agreement.

    This particular version is a good company, that’s why I chose them. I’m sure they have their faults, but honestly, Blue Cross =/= the same thing every time.

  84. fromby says:

    Blue Cross Blue Shield just dropped my 85 year old grandparents with no warning. Oh yeah, my grandmother just was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Coincidence? What a bag of flaming @*&%#s!

  85. swimmey says:

    Anthem BXBS turned me down for individual coverage because I had cancer six years ago, and take an anti-cancer med. They told me to feel free to reapply once I’ve been “sign, symptom and treatment-free” for 15 years. My oncologist says the anti-cancer med I take is considered “treatment.” So in order to get Anthem to cover me, I would have to go off the drug that keeps me from getting cancer…for 15 years.

    Does that make sense to you?

    My consolation in all of this is that I expect Anthem BXBS to be gone in 15 years. And I’ll still be here.

  86. ninjatales says:

    Any health company that tries to screw their own customers in a proactive way deserves to burn in hell.