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Official Fights With Blue Cross Over Premiums

Sun., June 2, 1996

Some of Deborah Senn’s harshest words are heaped on the state’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross.

In March, Senn questioned the company’s wisdom in boosting annual compensation for Chief Executive Officer Betty Woods to more than $700,000 while the firm was suing the state to raise premiums on individual policy holders.

Senn notes the company tried to cash in on state insurance reforms by lowering premiums to sell more individual policies in anticipation that the expenses would be spread across all policy holders.

Now the company says it’s losing big money on those policies.

She claims Blue Cross put itself in its own financial bind, and then claimed it was the victim of public policy decisions.

“It’s like the child who shoots his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan,” she says.

Blue Cross spokesman Jack McRae is appalled at Senn’s analogy. “She said that? … The crisis has been created by public policy decisions of one type or another.”

Sheryl Hutchison, of the state’s Health Care Policy Board, agrees that Blue Cross brought on some of its own problems and losses.

“As we say, they got caught with their premiums down.” , DataTimes


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