Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana's sale to Elevance Health for $2.5 billion is temporarily on hold, nola.com reported Sept. 25.
In a shared statement to the news outlet, the companies said they "remain committed to refiling the plan of reorganization and acquisition application." A BCBS spokesperson said they are hopeful a deal can still be closed in early 2024.
Elevance said in January it planned to acquire the BCBS affiliate, which would have become a for-profit subsidiary if the deal was approved. The proposal needs approval from the state insurance commissioner along with two-thirds of BCBS policyholders.
In recent months, state lawmakers and the Louisiana attorney general had called for a delay and made clear they did not want the sale to go forward until more questions have been answered.
"Since we are committed to making sure these questions are answered, BCBSLA and Elevance Health do not believe it is the right time to hold public hearings and a policyholder vote," the companies' statement to nola.com said.
BCBS had proposed giving about $307 million of the sale proceeds to policyholders, or about $3,000 each. The remainder would go to a nonprofit foundation called Accelerate Louisiana that would be created as a result from the sale.
BCBS Louisiana CEO Steve Udvarhelyi, MD, defended the deal before lawmakers, saying it is the best way to bring technology, better pharmacy benefits and new programs to Blue Cross beneficiaries. He said there will be no changes or layoffs, "but if we do not do something now to secure our future, the forces at play in the marketplace, the inevitable forces of consolidation, will happen and we will have to consolidate from a position of weakness."