Archive for Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Letter: Insurance Commissioner probes sale of Blue Cross-Blue Shield

December 26, 2001

To the Editor:

The proposed sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas to Anthem Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Indiana is a tremendously important matter, and will affect health care in Kansas for decades to come. The Kansas Insurance Department is leading an aggressive and detailed investigation of this proposed transaction. I would like to report on where we are in the process and again encourage policyholders and the public to participate and make their views known.

The Board of Directors of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas has voted to sell the company. That sale will happen only if the policyholders vote to approve the transaction, and if I, as Kansas insurance commissioner, decide the sale is consistent with Kansas law, which is designed to protect policyholders and the public. A team from my office has been working tirelessly for months to investigate the financial and medical issues involved in this complicated sale. They have been working with national experts and are looking out for the best interests of the people of Kansas. I am confident that this talented team will uncover every issue that is of concern to the insurance-buying public.

Consumers have a strong voice in this process. That's why my team and I traveled across Kansas to hold five public meetings about the proposed sale. Over 1,000 Kansans attended those sessions and shared their views. Policyholders have received written materials from Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Kansas, which explain the sale, outline its risk factors, and attempt to answer some key questions.

The remaining steps in this process are the policyholder voteballots must be received by Jan. 11thand the administrative hearing that begins on Jan. 7th in Topeka. Anyone who has not expressed their opinion still has time to make their voice heard. Please send your comments to me at 420 S.W. Ninth St., Topeka, 66606, or e-mail: www.legaldivision@ksinsurance.org.

At the administrative hearing, the Kansas Insurance Department team, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield will present their evidence to me on the proposed sale of the company. In addition, the Kansas Medical Society, the Kansas Hospital Association, the Kansas State Nurses Association and the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved will also participate in the administrative hearing.

All legal documents can be reviewed on our Web site at www.ksinsurance.org. For more information, call our toll free hotline at 1-800-432-2484. The administrative hearing is open to the public and will be held at the Capitol Plaza Hotel, in Topeka, beginning at 9 a.m. on Jan. 7th. Please keep in mind that all public comments must be received before the formal hearing begins.

Looking out for the best interest of Kansans and putting consumers firstthat has always been my priority and will remain first and foremost as I make this decision. That's what the law requires me to do and that's what I intend to do.

Kathleen Sebelius

Kansas Insurance Commissioner

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