Cox blasts insurer's proposal to boost rates, reduce oversight

Chris Rizo Nov. 18, 2008, 12:11pm

Mike Cox (R)

DETROIT, Mich. - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is trying to raise health insurance rates for the self-insured, Attorney General Mike Cox said Tuesday.

The company is also seeking to reduce industry oversight during the state Legislature's lame duck session.

The Republican attorney general is trying to block legislation pending that would allow the non-profit insurer to enact a 75 percent rate increase.

"This is just a license to print more money for Blue Cross," Cox said at a news conference.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is seeking a rate increase to shore up its finances. Currently, Blue Cross has more than 60 percent
of the state's health insurance market. The company was established by state law as Michigan's insurer of last resort.

On Monday, the company said its individual market segment lost $111 million in the first nine months of 2008.

Some of the legislation would allow a Blue Cross for-profit subsidiary, The Accident Fund, to expand. But critics, including consumer advocates, say the move would give the company an unfair advantage over other insurers.

Cox said Blue Cross is spending millions of dollars to get the overhaul passed during the lame duck session.

"They are going to push in a lame duck session what they couldn't get done in the last 13 months in the light of day," Cox said.

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