Wendell Potter, a former VP of corporate communications for the health insurer, spoke to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation in Washington about the tactics the health insurance industry has used to resist healthcare reform. Potter retired from Cigna in 2008.
In response, Philadelphia-based Cigna is providing statements to the media, negating Potter's testimony about how the industry allegedly deliberately tries to confuse individuals or unfairly treat others, said Chris Curran, VP of corporate communications for Cigna.
“We're continuing our work in terms of educating consumers and Congress,” said Curran, who added that the communications team found out about Potter's testimony on June 23 and has been using media relations to deal with the news.
Part of the media statement includes information about what components of reform Cigna supports, including a requirement for healthcare; guaranteed coverage at the same rate, despite a pre-existing illness; and the development of minimum benefits.
Potter also spoke to the Columbia Journalism Review for a June 24 story about some of the PR tactics that he said he employed at Cigna to position the company and mislead the press.
He told the Los Angeles Times' Lisa Girion, who conducted the interview, that many beat reporters didn't understand the company or the industry and that, since the 1990s, less critical coverage of the industry is taking place, making it easier for companies to push their messages.