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Louisiana Legislators to Convene Over Blue Cross Blue Shield Sale

Lawmakers will hold a hearing Monday on the proposed sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana.
Lawmakers will hold a hearing Monday on the proposed sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana.

A significant development in Louisiana's healthcare landscape has prompted lawmakers to take action. On Monday, two Senate committees will converge at the State Capitol to address the proposed sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, a pivotal player in the state's health insurance arena, covering around 40% of residents.

The proposed transaction involves the transfer of ownership from the local, not-for-profit Blue Cross Blue Shield to Elevance Health, a for-profit entity with operations spanning across multiple states. This move has sparked concerns among legislators regarding potential ramifications, including heightened premiums, reduced coverage, and the prospect of job losses at Blue Cross Blue Shield's Baton Rouge headquarters, as Elevance Health is headquartered in Indiana.

Central to the proposed sale is the establishment of a new $3 billion foundation, funded by proceeds from the transaction. While proponents highlight its focus on improving health outcomes in Louisiana, legislators express apprehension over the lack of public oversight in its operations.

Despite the legislative scrutiny, the fate of the sale rests in the hands of Blue Cross policyholders and Republican Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple. Only their consent can greenlight the deal, with policyholders possessing the power to veto the transaction.

It's worth noting that the voting bloc comprises a smaller subset of approximately 92,000 individuals, excluding the entirety of the 1.9 million Louisiana residents covered by Blue Cross insurance. Additionally, there are financial incentives tied to the approval, with each eligible policyholder slated to receive approximately $3,000 if the sale progresses.

The joint legislative meeting, slated for 10 a.m. on Monday, will be co-hosted by the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare and the Senate Committee on Insurance, underscoring the gravity of the issue at hand and the legislature's proactive stance in safeguarding the interests of Louisiana's healthcare landscape.

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