Shifting Blue Cross to a mutual company worries consumer advocates

The proposal to make Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan a nonprofit mutual insurance company, which Gov. Rick Snyder announced last week, is raising concerns among consumer advocates and competitors. Under the plan, Blue Cross would remain a nonprofit company but would pay about $100 million a year in taxes to no longer operate as the state's insurer of last resort. But some industry members are worried the change will allow Blue Cross to more easily raise its rates, reported Michigan Live.

"We obviously believe this represents a significant change in the current status and have concerns if this isn't done properly, that we may be simply converting an existing monopoly and just giving it a different format," said Rick Murdock, executive director of the Michigan Association of Health Plans, which doesn't represent Blue Cross. Additionally, a consumer group said switching Blue Cross to a mutual company would require a more transparent rate review process where customers can meaningfully participate in decisions. "Our concern is transparency, competitiveness, that sort of thing," said Don Hazaert, director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare. "We really need to look at the details." Article