State House Listens to Blue Cross Arguments - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

State House Listens to Blue Cross Arguments

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Flipping Blue Cross Blue Shield into a mutual company is the recommendation of Governor Rick Snyder, who contends this will produce more competition which should reduce insurance costs for consumers.

But many at Tuesday's House committee hearing contend, because the Blues have a 70 percent share of the market, they will drive prices up, not down, if this is not done right.

"It's going to mean higher rates, if this deal is done wrong. It means increases in health care but also auto and homeowners insurance if they get into that and drive out smaller companies," said Attorney General Mike cox.

The HMO's are especially concerned about allowing the Blues into their market place. HMO Attorney Joseph Aoun contends the playing field will not be leveled by this legislation as the governor and blues argue.

"It's not really about competition. What it's about is allowing Blue Cross to raise rates without have attorney general oversight. That oversight has been very helpful in terms of protecting consumers and keeping market places competitive," said Aoun.

But the Blues contend because they have 70 percent of the market, that gives the company leverage to negoatie cheaper health care coverage for the consumer.

"The blues pay $50 million a day in Michigan health care claims. If we can go in and negotiate good prices for our customers, that helps keep folks health care premiums affordable," said Andy Hetzel, a Blue Cross spokesperson.

The House committee has more hearings scheduled and the governor says he wants to get this wrapped up by the end of the year.

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