Report: Mich. AG wants better review of insurer's conversion

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Sep 27, 2012


LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says he wants a better, more thorough review done of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's proposed overhaul.

Schuette told The Associated Press this week that he will not thwart Gov. Rick Snyder's proposal to convert the state's largest health insurer from a charitable trust to a customer-owned nonprofit.

But the attorney general told the AP that the independent review of the deal -- determining whether it is fair for residents -- is "not adequate."

This month, Snyder said he wanted to "level the playing field" for insurers, ending BCBS's tax-exempt status.

The insurer serves 4.4 million state residents.

Under the proposal, BCBS would be required to contribute about $1.5 billion over 18 years to a nonprofit entity aimed at improving public health care and access, and pay about $100 million in taxes.

On Thursday, Schuette testified before the Senate Insurance Committee about the conversion.

He called for lawmakers to pursue "strong protections" for the state's seniors and most vulnerable as they consider the legislation permitting the conversion.

Schuette again stressed the need for an independent valuation of the assets of BCBS and its affiliated companies before any conversion takes place.

"The proposed conversion of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan from a charitable and benevolent company to a mutual company will have significant ramifications for millions of Michigan citizens, including seniors and our most vulnerable," the attorney general told lawmakers.

"We must take the time to do this right, to ensure the people of Michigan get a fair deal, and our most vulnerable are protected."

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

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