In Michigan
6:15 pm
Thu May 21, 2009

AG Cox challenges Blues rate hikes

Lansing, MI – Lansing, MI (MPRN)
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox is challenging Blue Cross-Blue Shield's plans to raise the insurance rates paid by people who buy their own coverage.

Most people still get health coverage through their employers. But that's a shrinking share of the insurance market. The still-small but fastest-growing segment is people who buy their own insurance because they've lost their job, or their employer does not offer health coverage.

Blue Cross has about 400,000 customers who pay for their own insurance. Some of the planned rate hikes are as high as 70%. And Attorney General Mike Cox says that's too much.

Now the state insurance commissioner has 30 days to call a hearing. Blue Cross says it has no choice but to raise rates because it's losing money on that business.

Blue Cross is a not-for-profit charity that has to accept all applicants. The company says its for-profit competitors can pick and choose the youngest and healthiest customers, and it wants the Legislature to come up with a solution.