Rep. Dianda: Blue Cross/Blue Shield Changes Harm Seniors

Republican-backed bills increase cost of insurance
Thursday, February 28, 2013

State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) today voted against a proposal to convert Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan â which covers almost 4.4 million Michiganders â from a nonprofit health care corporation to a mutual disability insurer. The proposals contain measures that will make it more difficult and expensive for seniors to obtain comprehensive insurance.

“This vote for me today was a no-brainer. I represent a district that is home to more senior citizens than anywhere else in the state. And they won’t be able to afford health insurance if this bill passes.” Dianda said. “If senior citizens have to pay even more for Medigap coverage, some of them are not going to be able to heat their homes in the winter or buy groceries.”

The proposal ends BCBS’s obligation to offer Medigap insurance after 2016. Under a current agreement with the state’s attorney general, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan’s Medigap rates are frozen through 2016. If the insurance company does continue coverage beyond 2016, its cost could rise precipitously.

“Michigan’s senior citizens are already dealing with the new tax on their retirement income, and the reductions on the Homestead Tax Credit and other credits,” Dianda said. “My priority is to make sure that people who have lived their whole lives up here are able to afford quality health care and continue to live their golden years without financial hardship as much as possible.”

Rep. Dianda opposes putting increased financial burdens on Michigan’s seniors, who are already struggling to pay a new tax on retirement income and who have seen credits and deductions on the state income tax, such as the Homestead Property Tax Exemption Credit, reduced or eliminated.