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SBAM to evaluate Governor’s plan to modernize Michigan’s health insurance market

September 12, 2012

SBAM plans to be a strong contributor to the upcoming legislative debate over Gov. Snyder’s proposal to make Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) a nonprofit mutual regulated under the Michigan insurance code.

“While this specific proposal from Gov. Snyder is new, this conversation started a decade ago with small group market reform and has continued over the years.  We believe that the timing is right for this legislation and we applaud the governor for jumpstarting this conversation. SBAM will evaluate the details of this proposal based on how it affects small businesses and the cost and availability of health insurance in the small group market,” says SBAM President and CEO Rob Fowler.

“Our members have told us for years that one of the greatest challenges to small business success is the high cost of health insurance. We are encouraged that a proposal is in the works to create a level playing field for BCBSM and other insurers in order to increase competition, improve quality, stabilize insurance costs and streamline the outdated insurance regulatory system in Michigan,” says Fowler. 

Fowler noted that the governor’s proposal includes turning BCBSM into a nonprofit mutual insurer with an estimated annual tax bill of $100 million and having BCBSM contribute $1.5 billion over 18 years to a separate non-profit organization with an independent Board of Directors that will oversee how that money will be spent. “We intend to weigh in on those discussions because cost is the problem small businesses encounter daily in providing health insurance for their employees and family members.  We do not want an unintended consequence of this contribution to a new nonprofit to be an increase in costs for our members.

“Further, we believe that small business customers must have a voice in the new mutual company and that much of the money that BCBSM holds in reserve and would be available for this new non-profit has come from the premiums our members have paid.’

SBAM represents more than 15,500 small businesses in all 83 Michigan counties.

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