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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Calls for Attorney General to Support Stronger Regulation of Commercial Insurers; Protections for Consumers; and Financially Stable Insurance Market
Date:11/18/2008

DETROIT, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is asking Attorney General Mike Cox to stand behind stronger, new consumer-friendly regulations of commercial health insurance carriers that are included in a compromise on health insurance reform made public this week by the chair of a bipartisan conference committee of the Michigan House and Senate.

"The Attorney General's office has a vested interest in ensuring that all Michigan consumers are protected in the marketplace. This includes people who seek health coverage from for-profit insurance carriers," said Andrew Hetzel, BCBSM vice president of corporate communications. "Blue Cross is inviting Attorney General Cox to stand with us in supporting stronger regulation of for-profit insurance companies in Michigan, and ending some of their most anti-consumer practices."

Here are just some of the consumer-friendly elements of the draft compromise:

    -- It prohibits insurers from jacking up rates because of a change in
       medical status.
    -- It protects women by prohibiting gender-setting of premiums.
    -- It financially discourages insurers from rejecting applicants.
    -- It reduces the waiting period for pre-existing conditions from 12
       months to six.
    -- It prohibits insurers from taking more than 10 percent profit on senior
       products.
    -- It continues the Attorney General's authority to challenge Blue Cross
       rate filings.
    -- It empowers the Insurance Commissioner to order refunds for price
       gouging.
    -- It preserves Blue Cross community rating and its "insurer of last
       resort" status.

"We hope Michigan's leading consumer advocate will join Michigan's leading health insurance company and lawmakers from both political parties to support stronger regulation and consumer protection in the individual health insurance market this year," Hetzel said.


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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
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