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

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

State Representative Henry Yanez (D-Sterling Heights) voted against a proposal today 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 nonprofit mutual disability insurer. The proposals contain measures that will make it more difficult and expensive for seniors to obtain comprehensive insurance.

“Keeping our seniors’ health care costs affordable is crucial,” Rep. Yanez said. “I couldn’t vote for this legislation because it will make Medigap - which keeps out-of-pocket costs low - much more expensive and out of reach for many of our seniors.”

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.

“I am already fighting to undo the wrongful tax our seniors are now facing. thanks to the Republicans’ tax overhaul that taxed retirement income to fund massive corporate tax breaks. This vote echoes my priorities,” continued Yanez.

Rep. Yanez 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.