On October 17, the Michigan Senate passed Senate Bills 1293 and 1294, legislation that would impact seniors by restructuring Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). AARP Michigan still opposes these bills, and there is still a lot of work that needs to be done when the bills get taken up in the House this month. However, the versions of the bills that passed the Senate are better than they started.
The bills are currently in the House Insurance Committee.
The Senate amended SB 1294 to require 60% of the funds spent by the new Michigan Health and Wellness Foundation to be used to partially offset the Medigap premium increases that seniors will face under this legislation when the current Medigap subsidy goes away beginning in 2016. The Senate also restored funding for caregivers through the Senior Care Respite Fund, which the original bills would have eliminated. Our Senators were receptive to AARP concerns, which we appreciate. Still, we are concerned there will not be enough funding for the new Michigan Health and Wellness Foundation to meet the need that will exist when the current subsidy ends.
As these bills move through the Michigan House, AARP will continue to advocate for the inclusion of additional protections against excessive rate increases for people of all ages, and for ways to keep this legislation from increasing out of pocket costs for seniors who purchase Blue Cross Medigap products.
For questions about this or other legislative matters, contact Felicia Wasson, Associate State Director for Advocacy at firstname.lastname@example.org.