A $56 Million Victory for the Public

I have some really good news about our longstanding efforts to hold CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield accountable to its nonprofit mission.

Your probably remember that almost a year-and-a-half ago–December 2014–the D.C. Insurance Commissioner determined that CareFirst had improperly accumulated more than $268 million of excess surplus. And he ordered the company to file a plan no later than March 16, 2015 detailing how it intended to spend $56 million of that excess here in the District.

But instead of complying with the Commissioner’s order, CareFirst wrongly asserted that it had already spent the $56 million and therefore would not be filing a plan.

Today, as we and many others have urged him to do, the Commissioner rejected CareFirst’s claim that it has already spent the $56 million. The Commissioner also announced that he intended to follow the law’s requirement that he will approve no rate increases for CareFirst until he approves a plan to spend the $56 million.

In addition, in order to develop a plan for spending the $56 million, the Commissioner called for a 30-day public comment period on the plan and announced that he will approve the plan within 30 days after the comment period closes.

This is a great result for the public. It is one we’ve urged over the past year, and one the D.C. Council unanimously called for in an emergency resolution in April. It is an opportunity for the public to help develop a “fair and equitable” community health reinvestment plan for the $56 million in excess surplus. We hope many of you will consider weighing in with the Commissioner on how that money should be reinvested. Comments are due by July 14, and the Commissioner will approve a plan by August 15.

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