Lawmakers start process to mutualize Michigan Blues

Michigan lawmakers have begun fleshing out Gov. Rick Snyder's proposal to shift Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan into a mutual insurance company.

Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Sen. Joe Hune introduced legislation (SB 1293 and SB 1294) that would amend the state's insurance code to allow Blue Cross to transition from a nonprofit to a mutual company, reported Michigan Live.

Michigan Insurance Commissioner Kevin Clinton said mutualizing Blue Cross must be completed soon so the company can sell plans through health insurance exchanges that launch in 2014, the Associated Press reported.

Clinton told a state Senate panel last week that changing the company's structure, which would require Blue Cross pay up to $100 million a year in taxes, should create more competition in the state's health insurance market. The company currently holds a 70 percent market share in Michigan, according to Interlochen Public Radio.

In response to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's call for a "thorough, independent, and complete review of the assets of Blue Cross Blue Shield and its affiliated companies," Clinton said an outside auditor will review the company's financials to determine whether mutualizing the insurer is a good deal for the state.

To learn more:
- here are the bills, SB 1293 and SB 1294
- see the Michigan Live article
- check out the Associated Press article
- read the Interlochen Public Radio article