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Not in the Public Interest: Insurance Commissioners in Washington and Alaska Reject Premera Blue Cross’s Proposal, Costing Too Much, Offering Too Little

On July 15, 2004, Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler formally rejected a proposal by nonprofit Premera Blue Cross to convert to a for-profit corporation. Ten days later, Alaska Director of Insurance Linda Hall echoed Kreidler’s decision by rejecting the company’s effort to convert Premera’s holdings in Alaska. Each regulator thoroughly and critically examined the company’s conversion proposal and concluded that it was not in the best interests of consumers. The rejections in Washington and Alaska are part of a new trend. Viewed in the context of similar recent rejections by regulators in Maryland and Kansas, along with a Blue Cross company’s withdrawal of its conversion proposal in North Carolina, the decisions in Alaska and Washington demonstrate the positive impacts that a careful, thorough regulator and committed consumer coalition can have in protecting the public interest during the conversion process