Mont. AG conditionally approves Blue Cross merger

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jun 27, 2013

HELENA, Mont. (Legal Newsline) -- This week, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox conditionally approved the conversion transaction between Health Care Service Corporation and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Montana.

Fox said Tuesday he came to the decision after reviewing the evidence presented at public hearings, and "extensive" study and discovery.

The attorney general noted that his approval of Illinois health insurer HCSC's purchase of BCBS is based on conditions that the two will continue to comply with their legal obligations, the proceeds of the transaction will be paid to a new foundation, and BCBS will "orderly" wind down its affairs.

Fox required HCSC to increase the purchase price from $17.6 million to $40.2 million to ensure that state residents receive fair market value for the assets transferred in the conversion transaction.

"In addition, the public interest of the citizens of Montana will be served by the promise to create 100 new jobs in Montana and by the good faith commitment that HCSC will maintain its non-profit status for at least five years," the attorney general said in a statement.

In his eight-page order, Fox said the HCSC and BCBS have to close the deal within 60 days and transfer the money to the Montana Healthcare Foundation.

The foundation is a trust that will administer and distribute all assets directed to the trust that are associated with the conversion transaction pursuant to the procedures and restrictions set forth by the conversion statute.

Fox was expected to announce plans for the foundation later this week.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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