Statement from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

"Piggy-back" civil lawsuits related to DOJ case

November 23, 2010

DETROIT — The lawsuit filed this week is the second separate civil lawsuit piggy-backing on the recent U.S. government civil lawsuit relating to hospital discounts.  Piggy-back plaintiff lawsuits are not a surprise or unusual in these circumstances.

We have not been served nor have we read this lawsuit in detail yet. However, we can stress the importance of our ability to negotiate the deepest possible discounts.

Negotiated hospital discounts are a tool that Blue Cross uses to protect the affordability of health insurance for millions of Michiganders.

We believe this lawsuit is without merit, and it ignores the benefits of negotiating the deepest possible discounts for our members and customers with Michigan hospitals. Our hospital discounts are a vital part of our statutory mission to provide Michigan residents with statewide access to health care at a reasonable cost.  At a time when insurance premiums are increasing because of medical costs, it hurts consumers to remove tools that insurers use to negotiate the lowest possible cost for medical care in the hospital.

We also are compelled to respond to the assertion that BCBSM does not promote affordable health care in Michigan.  In fact, we do it in many ways.

  • We provided $15 million to subsidize the state's MIChild program for children of lower-income working families.
  • We also supported 55 nonprofit community clinics with $1 million in grants to ensure access to preventive health care for the uninsured and ease pressure on uncompensated care in Michigan hospital emergency rooms.
  • All this is in addition to the $13 billion we saved our 4 million Michigan members in 2009 through the provider discounts we fairly negotiated.