State officials scrutinize BCBS Louisiana sale to Elevance

Three Louisiana state senators and the attorney general are calling for a delay of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana's sale to Elevance Health, reported Aug. 16. 

The senators' call for a delay stemmed from reports commissioned by the state's insurance commission that was released shortly before a six-hour legislative hearing on the deal, according to the report. 

The independent reports from actuarial firms hired by the commission questioned how BCBS plans to structure the deal, according to the report. 

BCBS has proposed giving a fraction of the sale proceeds to policyholders, according to the report. That group includes employers and some beneficiaries who have purchased plans individually, but not every person in the state covered by the payer. Policyholders would receive about $307 million, which amounts to about $3,000 per policyholder. The rest would go to a nonprofit foundation called Accelerate Louisiana that would be created as a result from the sale.  

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said he does not have a position on the deal but has concerns about how it could affect premiums, how proceeds will be split between policyholders and a foundation that will be formed from the sale and whether the foundation is in the best interest of state residents, according to He also said he opened an investigation into the deal for potential antitrust violations. 

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."

Elevance announced plans to acquire BCBS Louisiana in January. The company will become a for-profit subsidiary of Elevance if the deal is approved.  

The deal needs approval from the state insurance commissioner along with two-thirds of BCBS policyholders, according to the report. 

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