SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - Customers of not-for-profit health insurer Blue Shield protested in front of the company's headquarters Thursday after delivering signatures demanding access to the orginziation's new luxury suite at Levi's Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers.
The suites start at $2.5 million for a ten-year commitment; however, it's not clear how much Blue Shield spent on its skybox. The insurer has told media outlets that the box was purchased to host customer events, not as a giveaway to executives.
Organizers of the protest at Blue Shield's San Francisco offices said 22,000 had joined a petition demanding skybox tickets to 49ers games or the return of the money. The protesters also voiced their support for Proposition 45, a ballot measure that would give the state insurance commissioner the power to regulate health insurance rates.
"Not for pro-fit companies have no business with multi-million dollar skyboxes while policyholders are asked to pay rate hikes in double digits every year," said Jamie Court of Consumer Watchdog.
The insurer has faced harsh criticism about rate hikes in recent years. In January, the California Insurance Commissioner blasted increases as "excessive" and "unreasonable."
"Blue Shield has raised rates by an average of 32.3 percent over the last 24 months," Commissioner Dave Jones said at the time.
At the time, Blue Shield disputed the accuracy of those numbers.
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