Lawmakers seek answers about the sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield to Elevance
Lawmakers questioned insurance regulators about the proposed sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield Louisiana to Elevance in a grueling eight hour meeting on Monday. The controversial move has drawn both heavy support and criticism.
The sale of the nonprofit insurer Blue Cross and Blue Shield Louisiana to for-profit Elevance from out of state is raising concerns with policyholders.
“We just don’t have the resources to make those types of investments that our competitors make in Louisiana,” said BCBS CEO Steven Udvarhelyi.
Udvarhelyi stated Blue Cross and Blue Shield Louisiana is falling behind in profits from other competitors in the state. The profits of the sale, which are supposed to go into a trust and some of the policyholders, have not been explicitly doled out for specific purposes. The agreement also includes language to keep on the staff locally for at least two years.
“There’s no guarantee that Blue Cross admin stays in the state for the long run,” State Sen. Patrick McMath, R-Covington, said.
Lawmakers said they have taken calls from constituents who are concerned about the increase in cost that will come from switching to a for-profit company. While BCBS claims that would not be the case, the commissioner can’t cap premiums or rates.
“You have to understand where we take some pause when we hear that premiums won’t go up. They’ve risen everywhere else,” McMath said.
Legislators were not happy with Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple’s absence, at the suggestion of his attorney. The attorney said he did not want Temple to suggest whether he would be approving or denying the deal.
If approved by policyholders, Temple will have a month to determine if he will approve the deal to allow the 1.9 million Louisianans covered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield to be sold to Elevance.
While legislators do not have any vote in the matter, they attended the meeting to gather more information on the deal to help answer questions from the people they represent.