Health insurance landscape shifts in Montana

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Montana sees major transition in health insurance sector

Montana has taken a major step in the field of health insurance. The state’s Insurance Commissioner, Monica Lindeen, has granted her approval for the sale of Blue Cross of Montana, the state’s largest private health insurance provider. Blue Cross of Montana is being sold to the Health Care Service Corp., which is based in Chicago, Illinois. The sale comes with numerous conditions, however, which are meant to benefit state residents to some degree.

Sale of Blue Cross of Montana has been approved by state regulators

Per the sale, Blue Cross of Montana will become a division of Health Care Services Corp. but will continue doing business in the state. Company officials suggest that the state’s approval of the sale represents a major regulatory victory. The conditions placed upon the sale have not yet been cleared by the legal teams representing both companies, however, meaning that the sale has not yet been completed.

Health insurance montanaConditions of sale set a roadmap for the future

One of the conditions placed upon the sale tasks Health Care Service Corp. with created at least 100 new jobs in Montana through its Blue Cross division by 2016. Blue Cross of Montana is also responsible for freezing the administrative fees associated with health insurance policies for three years. The insurer is also being required to share information concerning the salaries of its top officials in Montana. Another condition requires the insurer to pay taxes on premiums and the Health Care Services Corp. will also donate $3 million to two charities run by Blue Cross Montana this year.

Health insurance exchange may break any monopoly formed by sale of Blue Cross Montana

There are concerns that the purchase of Blue Cross Montana would create a strong monopoly for Health Care Services Corp. According to Commissioner Lindeed, the state’s health insurance exchange is likely to bring balance to the market. The exchange is expected to be the largest health insurance marketplace in the state when it goes active on January 1, 2014. Open enrollment for this exchange is currently slated for October 1 of this year.

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