Blue Cross Blue Shield

Health
2:45 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Time is running out for Michiganders who have yet to sign up for health insurance coverage

Credit Screen shot from healthcare.gov

Thousands of Michiganders are expected to be among the final crush of Americans trying to sign up for health insurance by Monday Obamacare deadline.

After Monday, people without health insurance coverage may face a penalty on their federal taxes.

Andy Hetzel is a spokesman for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan.      He says the state’s largest insurer has been getting 25,000 calls a week from people looking for help getting health care coverage.

“We’re seeing significant volumes of people reaching out to us now,” says Hetzel, “The people who are reaching out to us are a fraction of the marketplace.”

Hetzel says walking people through the sign-up, including assessing their eligibility for a federal subsidy to help pay their insurance premium, can take a while.   

Hetzel notes that many Michiganders will have the option of signing up for expanded Medicaid coverage starting next month.

Politics & Government
6:18 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Starting Friday, basic insurance policies in Michigan are barred from covering abortions

Michigan’s law barring insurance companies from including abortion coverage in basic policies takes effect this week. 

7 insurance companies, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield, will offer an additional rider.

David Waymire is a spokesman for the Michigan Association of Health Plans.      He says most Michiganders get their insurance from self-insured company health plans which are not covered by the law.   

“So there’s really a small number of people that will ever be affected by this law at this point,” says Waymire.

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Health
6:20 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Michiganders are signing up for Obamacare at a faster pace, but the deadline looms

The Obama administration says, through the end of January, about 112,000 Michiganders have picked insurance plans using the federal health care website.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The Obama Administration says Michiganders are signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act at a faster pace than expected. But time is running out.

Michiganders have until the end of March to sign up for health insurance or face a federal tax penalty.

The Obama administration says through the end of January, about 112,000 Michiganders have picked insurance plans using the federal health care website.

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Politics & Government
9:18 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Michigan Gov. Snyder proud of health laws, realistic about 2014

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder is proud of the substantial changes he and lawmakers made to Michigan's health care landscape in 2013.

Almost a half-million low-income adults will qualify for government health insurance through an expansion of Medicaid. An overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield is creating a nearly $1.6 billion health endowment fund.

More low-income children are eligible for dental coverage.

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Health
4:41 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Michigan officials say insurance companies can continue to offer health plans canceled by Obamacare

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michiganders at risk of losing their health insurance because of Obamacare may be getting a reprieve.

It’s estimated that more than 200,000 policies in Michigan could be at risk of being canceled because the policies don’t meet the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act.

After a public outcry, President Obama asked the states and insurance companies to keep those policies in effect for another year. 

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Health
12:11 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

Federal judge rules against Blue Cross in autism lawsuit

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A federal judge has ruled that Blue Cross must pay hundreds of Michigan families who were denied coverage for behavioral therapy for children with autism.

Blue Cross contends the therapy is experimental, but doctors disagree.

The ruling may cost Blue Cross about five million dollars.

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Politics & Government
8:34 am
Wed March 20, 2013

The week in Michigan politics: The EM for Detroit, Blue Cross overhaul, right to work

Shawn Wilson wikimedia

Week in Michigan politics interview

This week in Michigan politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss what's ahead for Kevyn Orr, the soon to be emergency manager for Detroit. They also talk about how some universities might face cuts after renegotiating labor contracts before the right to work law goes into effect later this month, and how the Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul will affect the majority of Michiganders in the state.

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Politics & Government
7:34 am
Tue March 19, 2013

In this morning's news: Blue Cross overhaul, Detroit EM unpaid taxes, Flint delays project for water

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Governor Snyder signs Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul

"Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation overhauling Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The bills let the state's largest health insurer transform into a customer-owned nonprofit and ends its tax-exempt status. The Republican governor signed the legislation Monday at a meeting of the company's board of directors in Detroit," the Associated Press reports.

Detroit EM accused of unpaid taxes

"Governor Rick Snyder is standing by his pick for Detroit’s emergency manager - despite some criticism over unpaid taxes. The Detroit News reported over the weekend that Kevyn Orr had two tax liens against his Maryland home. Orr says he has since paid the taxes," Jake Neher reports.

Flint postpones decision to get water from Lake Huron

"The Flint city council has delayed a decision on whether to take part in a quarter billion dollar project to pipe water from Lake Huron for the city’s drinking water. Council members are concerned the city will end up paying too much.   There is also concern that whatever decision they make could be overruled by Flint’s emergency financial manager," Steve Carmody reports.

Health
3:57 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

4 things to know about the changes to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Blue Cross Blue Shield building on Lafayette in Detroit.
Wikipedia

Today, things change for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

After Governor Rick Snyder signed the law this afternoon, the state's largest health insurer will no longer be a 'benevolent trust' owned by the people of Michigan.

Instead, it will transition into a customer-owned, nonprofit, mutual insurance company.

As such, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will be able to operate without as much state oversight.

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Health
12:38 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Gov. Snyder signs Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul

Mikerussell wikimedia commons

DETROIT (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation overhauling Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The bills let the state's largest health insurer transform into a customer-owned nonprofit and ends its tax-exempt status. The Republican governor signed the legislation Monday at a meeting of the company's board of directors in Detroit.

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Politics & Government
7:43 am
Mon March 18, 2013

In this morning's news: Blue Cross overhaul, autism services plan, knives on airplanes

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Snyder signs Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul today

"Governor Snyder is scheduled to sign a law today that will transform Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan into a customer-owned non-profit insurance company," Steve Carmody reports

Michigan to unveil plan on autism services today

"The state Department of Community Health will roll out a plan today to address the needs of children and adults with autism. It will include early identification of children with autism and helping adults with autism live independently," Rick Pluta reports.

Knives on airplanes

"Knives are prohibited in Michigan airports, but beginning next month the Transportation Security Administration says agents will still allow them through security checkpoints at the state's airports anyway. Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette's office says the ban on knives will remain in effect despite the TSA changes," the Associated Press reports.

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Politics & Government
2:36 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

The bill changing Blue Cross Blue Shield to be signed into law Monday

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder is scheduled to sign a law tomorrow that will transform Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan into a customer-owned non-profit insurance company.

Supporters say the change will make Michigan’s health insurance market more competitive.

But the AARP and other opponents complain the change will eventually cost nearly 200 thousand Michigan senior citizens the Medi-gap coverage they need.

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Politics & Government
7:31 am
Fri March 1, 2013

In this morning's news: Detroit financial announcement, health care updates, and Michigan roads

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Governor Snyder to make an announcement on Detroit's financial emergency

"Governor Rick Snyder is expected to announce today that he agrees with a review team’s determination that Detroit is in a financial crisis with no plan to solve it. That would set the stage for the governor to name an emergency manager to run the city later in March. There’s no official word on what the governor plans to do, but he has said the condition of Detroit’s finances is unacceptable," Rick Pluta reports.

Health care exchange and Blue Cross Blue Shield bills move forward

Michigan is moving forward on the Affordable Care Act. As the Detroit Free Press reports,

"In a 78-31 vote, 29 Republicans joined with 49 Democrats [Thursday] to accept $30.6 million in federal money to set up a Web-based health care exchange where Michigan residents can easily go and investigate, and ultimately buy, the health insurance mandated under the act. The House also overwhelmingly passed a pair of bills that transforms Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan from a tax-exempt nonprofit into a nonprofit mutual insurer."

Lawmakers consider ballot proposal to raise sales tax to fund Michigan roads

Lawmakers have come up with a new idea to fix Michigan's roads. As the Detroit News reports,

"Republican lawmakers could take the first step next week toward financing Gov. Rick Snyder's $1.2 billion road improvements by trying to place a 1-cent sales tax increase on the May ballot."

Health
2:26 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Blue Cross overhaul closer to Gov. Snyder's desk

Mikerussell wikimedia commons

The Michigan House passed SB 61 and SB 62 today on a 92-18 vote. The bills go back to the Senate for a concurrence vote, and then they'll head to Gov. Snyder's desk for his signature.

The bills are aimed at overhauling how Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan operates in the state.

Similar bills were attempted in the last session of the legislature, but they contained controversial abortion language. The language required an optional rider for abortion coverage.

Gov. Snyder vetoed those bills.

These new bills don't have the abortion language.

More on the changes from MLive's Melissa Anders:

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Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat February 23, 2013

The week in review

Kate Sumbler Flickr

Week in review interview

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the second attempt to overhaul Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the great potential of Detroit getting an emergency manager, and debates over what control the Detroit Public School board has when they are under the control of an emergency financial manager.

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Politics & Government
7:02 am
Fri February 22, 2013

In this morning's news: Blue Cross and abortion, alcohol regulations, Detroit's finances

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Blue Cross changes approved without abortion provision

"It looks unlikely state House Republicans will try to add controversial abortion language to a proposed overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Lawmakers passed the bill out of committee yesterday without a provision that would limit insurers’ ability to cover elective abortions," Jake Neher reports.

Bill would end some Michigan alcohol regulations

"Legislation in the Michigan Senate would overhaul regulation of the state's alcohol industry. The bill would eliminate outdated regulations and increase the size of the industry. One change would make it harder to prosecute those who sell alcohol to someone who is intoxicated," the Associated Press reports.

Governor Snyder says he won't decide on an EM for Detroit for at least another week

"Governor Snyder says he won’t decide whether to put an emergency manager in Detroit for 'at least another week.' But he warned Thursday that the city’s financial situation is 'dire.'", Sarah Cwiek reports.

Politics & Government
2:15 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Blue Cross changes approved without abortion provision

Blue Cross Blue Shield building
Wikipedia

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A state House committee has approved bills to overhaul Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, leaving out anti-abortion provisions that torpedoed an earlier effort to change the status of the state's largest insurer.

Bills headed to the House don't include language to prevent insurers and businesses from providing elective abortion coverage in employee health plans.

Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a similar bill less than two months ago over last-minute abortion provisions.

Some lawmakers discussed restoring abortion restrictions.

The proposed overhaul seeks to modernize but not sell Blue Cross, which is governed by a separate law from other insurers and waits longer for its rate changes to be reviewed.

Before Thursday's 11-0 vote, senior advocates testified about concerns that costs will rise because of the legislation. Three Democrats abstained from voting.

Politics & Government
4:41 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Abortion language that sunk Blue Cross overhaul reintroduced

Michigan Senator Mark Jansen
sentate.michigan.gov/gop

State lawmakers have re-introduced legislation that would limit the ability of insurance companies to cover abortions.

The measure would only allow insurers to cover elective abortions through optional rider plans.

Republican state Senator Mark Jansen says many people do not want that kind of coverage automatically included in their plans.

“If I’m an employee, and this is the big issue nationally, why should I be paying for something that seems to be something that many of us morally disagree with?”

The measure was included in legislation last year that sought to overhaul Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Governor Rick Snyder vetoed that bill because he thought the abortion language went too far. He said it’s not the state’s job to decide what kinds of plans insurance companies can offer.

The Blue Cross legislation has also been reintroduced without the abortion language. It passed unanimously in the state Senate last week.

Politics & Government
5:06 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

State Senate unanimously passes Blue Cross overhaul without abortion language

Wikipedia

The state Senate Thursday unanimously passed an overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

The measure was unexpectedly vetoed by Governor Rick Snyder last month because it included some controversial abortion language. Lawmakers recently reintroduced the legislation without the abortion measure.    

State Senator Joe Hune said he expects it to take longer for the bills to get through the House.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Fri January 18, 2013

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. .

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Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul reintroduced without abortion language

Lawmakers have reintroduced a proposed overhaul of Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Lansing State Journal reports.

"This time it is without the "objectionable language" on abortion that led Gov. Rick Snyder to veto the first package that cleared the Legislature last month. Two Senate bills would convert Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan into a nonprofit mutual insurance company."

Michigan might ignore federal gun control laws

"Michigan may join a small group of states that say they plan to ignore some federal gun control laws. A bill before the state legislature would exempt any guns or ammunition made, sold and kept in Michigan from any new federal regulations," Steve Carmody reports.

Michigan gets $30 million grant to help shop for health coverage

"The federal government is giving Michigan a $30 million  grant to help set up its health care insurance exchange. The exchange is mandated under the Affordable Care Act. It'll help people research and buy health coverage," Rina Miller reports.

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