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BlueCross BlueShield cancels attempt to sell to Elevance Health

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(The Center Square) — The proposed sale of BlueCross BlueShield Louisiana by Elevance Health was scrapped on Wednesday.

The Louisiana Department of Insurance issued a news release that said the two days of hearings on the issue scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday were canceled.

“Late yesterday evening, BlueCross notified the LDI that it has chosen to withdraw its Plan of Reorganization,” said John Ford, the Louisiana Department of Insurance Deputy Commissioner of Public Affairs. “The hearing scheduled for today and tomorrow is therefore canceled and I currently have no information regarding BlueCross’ intentions moving forward. Any questions about why BlueCross is withdrawing should be referred to BCBSLA.”

Neither company has issued a public statement.

The move came after a hearing Feb. 6 by the Senate committees on Health and Welfare and Insurance, when many senators objected to the potential $2.5 billion transaction that would’ve affected 1.9 million policyholders.

One issue that committee members questioned was the Indiana-based Elevance Health’s history of fines in Louisiana and other states. Data shows it has been assessed with 22 fines in seven states totaling $26.1 million since 2019.

The fines involved both Medicaid plans and commercial plans, with some of the largest centered on how the company processes claims and appeals.

Another was increasing premiums paid by Elevance policyholders. During the hearing, Sen. Patrick McMath, R-Covington, said during the past five years that Elevance’s premium revenue increased nearly 13% a year while membership during that same period increased 5% on average.

“Great news! @BCBSLA announced that it is canceling the attempt to sell the company to Elevance!” state Sen. Thomas Pressly, R-Shreveport, said in a post on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter. “This is a win for the people of Louisiana!”

In another post, Pressly said that he was proud of the Legislature’s work to get information about the sale to the public and said “When the truth came out, Louisiana did not want this sale.”

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