Politics & Government
5:46 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Michigan Senate approves overhaul of Blue Cross

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate has approved a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan overhaul that supporters say levels the playing field among health insurers and critics argue doesn't adequately protect elderly and vulnerable residents.

The Senate passed the legislation Wednesday. The House is expected to consider it when the chamber returns after the November election.

The legislation would end Blue Cross' tax-exempt status and change the health insurer from a charitable trust to a customer-owned nonprofit. It also would contribute about $1.5 billion over 18 years to a foundation continuing Blue Cross' efforts to improve public health and care access.

AARP Michigan says it wants to work with lawmakers on issues including providing better protections against excessive rate increases.

Blue Cross is Michigan's largest insurer.