Working Together For Michigan Consumers To be Healthy

Press Release: Senator, Are You with the Public or the Insurance Lobby?

Senator, Are You with the Public or the Insurance Lobby?

Consumers Do Battle Over Billion Dollar BCBSM “Giveaway”

For Immediate Release                                         Contact: Don Hazaert, 734-262-3837

Tuesday, October 16, 2012                                  [email protected]

LANSING– Leading state and national consumer advocates will be appearing before a Senate Insurance Committee hearing in Lansing today in an effort to head off what an independent insurance research group calls a billion dollar “giveaway” of Michigan community assets.  Laurie Sobel of the national group Consumers Union (CU) and Don Hazaert of the Michigan-based Michigan Consumers for Healthcare (MCH) will be among those testifying against insurance industry led efforts to fast-track BCBSM conversion legislation.

Consumer advocates will stress the following points in their testimony today:

Federal officials have confirmed that there is no need for BCBSM to change its corporate status in response to the Affordable Care Act.  Consequently, there is no urgency that would justify the Legislature abruptly ending stakeholder participation or interfering with an independent fair market valuation of BCBSM assets.

Consumer experts will explain the difference between “book value” and “fair market value” and explain how basing a charitable liability estimate for BCBSM on book value, as this proposal does, would cost Michigan potentially billions of dollars in lost community charitable assets built up with taxpayer subsidies since 1939.

They will explain how history shows that states that fail to conduct fair market valuation studies at the time of conversion end up settling for pennies on the dollar– an error in judgment that could again cost Michigan citizens billions in lost charitable assets.

They will point out that this proposal offers no new rate-setting protections for consumers despite the fact that the proposal essentially deregulates a functional monopoly that controls 70% of the insurance market in Michigan.

Consumers will call for a community health impact study to identify unintended consequences to public health in Michigan due to this proposal.  For example, this proposal, as written, would make it possible for all Michigan insurers, including BCBSM, to eventually deny secondary Medicare Medigap coverage to all older adults and persons with disabilities with pre-existing conditions. (Note: the ACA “must-issue” provisions don’t apply to secondary insurance.)

To read a copy of the policy memo from the Center for Insurance Research explaining how this proposal is effectively a billion dollar “giveaway,” click here:

Category: Media