Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan retains Grotenhuis and Action Benefits as exclusive managing agents

Blues also commit to using agents both on and off health exchanges

February 7, 2012

DETROIT — Action Benefits of Southfield and Grotenhuis of Grand Rapids have been retained as exclusive managing agents for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan beginning August 1, 2012.

BCBSM also announced its commitment to partner with agents for insurance services both on and off the state's health care exchange that is required to be put in place by 2014 under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Under the five-year arrangement, Grotenhuis and Action Benefits will be responsible for providing administrative, educational and other support services to more than 5,000 licensed insurance agents across Michigan who sell Blues products to groups size one to 99. Coverage and benefits for Blues customers are not affected. Managing agents do not sell health insurance coverage directly.

Previously, Action Benefits and Grotenhuis shared managing agent responsibilities with five other agencies. The new arrangement is the first major change in the Blues' managing structure in 25 years and is meant to streamline and strengthen the Blues' continued relationships with agents. A transition process to the new structure is anticipated to begin as early as March and run through the end of July.

"We look forward to this new arrangement delivering the highest value and best service to our customers and the agents who serve their insurance needs," said Ken Dallafior, senior vice president of Group Business and Corporate Marketing. "This is one change that is part of an ongoing process at Blue Cross to make our business leaner and set us up for success in the future. We are committed to working with agents to ensure a transparent and effective transition to this new structure and alignment with their customers' needs."

"Health care reform is literally changing every aspect of our business, and we need to continuously identify opportunities to improve effectiveness and modernize our processes," Dallafior said. "One thing that will not change is our commitment to working with insurance agents to write coverage. Agents will continue to play an important role as more changes prescribed by national health care reform go into effect, and we will work with them both on and off the state’s health insurance exchange to provide Blues coverage to consumers and businesses."

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is nonprofit and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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