Posted: Jun 29, 2013 8:42 AM by Lindsey Gordon - MTN News
HELENA - The recent Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Montana acquisition by insurance giant Health Care Service Corporation has left many questioning what will happen to all proceeds and assets from the transaction.
While a foundation for those funds is being created, where the money will go is still up in the air.
Into this fund will go all of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana assets at the time of the transaction, including the pool of unused premiums from policy-holders and the $40.2 million purchase price from the acquisition. In all it could total near $200 million.
Now that the approval for the acquisition has gone through, the clock is ticking to put the money into trust."Within the 60 days allowed, it is the Attorney General's responsibility under the conversion statutes to ensure that the proceeds are directly distributed to a non-profit foundation who's mission is as close as possible to that of Blue Cross Blue Shield," said Attorney General Tim Fox (R - Montana).
That non-profit will be called the Montana Healthcare Foundation, but what they will do with the money is yet to be decided. Fox said he wouldn't even begin to speculate.
"Statutes don't provide anymore discretion or guidance, or authority on my behalf to dictate to this foundation what it does beyond that," the AG said.
What Fox can do is to appoint a committee that will search for candidates for the Montana Healthcare Foundation Board of Trustees.
Today he named E. Edwin Eck as the interim trustee. Eck along with Karen Fagg and Jim Soft, both from Billings, will search for candidates and the AG will approve them.
The Commissioner of Insurance office expressed concern over the lack of request for public input and they aren't alone.
Miltenberger thinks the foundation should give the money back to those who overpaid on policies. Not only is that their money in the reserves, but he believes that in the purchase price, they are essentially selling the customers. As far as the company's assets, he said that the value of the company comes directly from the policyholder, too.
Fox said that the intent of the foundation is to be a long-lasting opportunity that follows through with the Blue Cross Blue Shield mission.
Miltenberger wants to know why that can't include the policy-holder: "We just can't think of a better use of the money than to at least take a part of-maybe all of it-maybe just half of it and get that money back to the policyholders.
Fox says that once the board for Montana Healthcare Foundation is assembled, it will all be up to them how that money is spent.
The search committee hopes to meet some time next week to get the process of getting applicants underway.