VA Health Care Activists to Demand Transparency from Big Insurance at Tyson's Corner Shareholders Meeting

Virginia Health Care Consumers to Demand Greater Transparency, Accountability From Health Insurance Executives on

Corporate Spending for Political Campaigns

Activists to Attend Coventry Health Care Annual Meeting in Tysons Corner, Va., to

Educate Shareholders on Risks of Damage to Company’s Reputation and Business

McLean, VA– Consumer shareholders of Coventry Health Care, a major national health insurance company that serves 5 million people in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and 21 other states, will attend the company’s annual meeting at the Tyson’s Corner Ritz Carlton on Thursday to urge executives to disclose their company’s direct and indirect spending on political campaigns.


Local activists from Virginia Organizing and Health Care for America Now will be on hand inside and outside the shareholder meeting to demand greater transparency and accountability from Coventry officials. Several Virginia Organizing members, including Paula Neustatter of Fredericksburg, will go inside the shareholder meeting to speak out in support of a shareholder proposal to disclose future monetary and non-monetary political contributions used to influence elections.


“We have to tell Coventry and other big insurance companies to stop trying to purchase our democracy as they did in the last election cycle. When corporations spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to influence the election we not only lose our voices but our chance at affordable health care as well,” said Paula Neustatter, health care provider and Virginia Organizing member.


Coventry, based in Bethesda, Maryland, is one of the nation’s largest for-profit health insurance companies and a member of a trade group that in 2009 secretly contributed at least $86 million for ads run by third parties to oppose health care reform. The money was funneled through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which ran the attack ads while the insurers were claiming to support health reform.


Coventry and other insurers have resisted disclosure of political spending that would permit citizens and shareholders to make informed decisions, according to Health Care for America Now. The problem has grown since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling held that corporations may spend freely on election-related political activities. Companies that do so put their reputations – and their shareholders’ investments – at risk.


WHO:  Coventry Health Care shareholders and consumer activists from the Virginia Organizing


WHAT:Protest action outside annual shareholder meeting of health insurer Coventry Health Care


WHEN:Thursday, May 19 at 8:00 a.m.           


WHERE:Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner, 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean, VA 22102. Get driving directions here.


Virginia Organizing is a statewide grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.


Health Care for America Now is a national grassroots coalition of more than 1,000 organizations in 46 states representing 30 million people. HCAN led the fight over the past two years to win passage of health reform and to keep Congress from being steamrolled by corporate special interests.