Competitors Say Blues Reform Should Break “Monopoly”

Sep 20, 2012

There was another day of hearings Thursday on Governor Rick Snyder’s proposed overhaul of Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan. For-profit companies say any insurance reforms should make it easier for them to compete with Blue Cross.

For-profit insurers have long complained about their inability to win a bigger piece of Michigan’s insurance marketplace. Blue Cross covers four million Michiganders.

Rick Murdock is with the Michigan Association of Health Plans. It’s an organization of 15 for-profit insurers that compete with Blue Cross.

“There’s no disputing the fact that Blue Cross-Blue Shield has 70% of Michigan’s commercial insurance market – a monopoly by any definition,” he says.

A Blue Cross representative says the proposal will create more competition, and Blue Cross will, for the first time, pay taxes. But he also says the Blues’ marketplace advantage comes from being a not-for-profit company not focused on maximizing profits, and that would not change under this overhaul.