pennsylvania officials want to know what can be disclosed about blue cross surplus
pittsburgh post-gazette, april 20, 2004
by pamela gaynor, pittsburgh post-gazette
the state insurance department
said yesterday that it was seeking clarification from commonwealth court as to how much information it could disclose publicly about financial surplus information it has received from the state's blue cross plans.
the insurance department ordered the region's largest health insurer, highmark inc.
, and the state's three other blue cross carriers in january to assess their capital surpluses and to submit plans for using any "excess" to lower premiums or to help the uninsured. all submitted the reports last week, the insurance department said yesterday.
two carriers, harrisburg's capital blue cross and blue cross of northeastern pennsylvania, had filed suit over the insurance department's order. a commonwealth court judge said last month that they had to comply with the request, but instructed the insurance department to keep the contents confidential until further notice.
pending the court's permission, the insurance department said it would post nonconfidential information on its web site and solicit public comment. in the face of runaway health benefits costs, critics have complained for several years that the blues have stashed away too much cash at the expense of customers and at the expense of the "social mission" they're required to serve.