Several bills have been introduced in the Tennessee Legislature that would convert Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee, Chattanooga, into a for-profit corporation, Tennessee Blues spokesman William Steverson said. One proposal would seize all of the insurer's reserves in excess of $250 million and funnel the money to hospitals, Steverson said. The Tennessee Blues has more than $600 million in reserves, he said. The bills appear to be part of the contract dispute between the 2.3 million-member Blues plan and HCA's Tennessee hospitals, Steverson said. HCA officials have said they have made no effort "to go after Blue Cross in the Legislature," according to published reports. The contract between the Tennessee Blues and HCA's Tennessee hospitals expired Dec. 31, 2002, and a new deal hasn't been negotiated. Steverson said the Tennessee Blues already pays state income and property taxes, so the issue is about control of the company, not tax status. -- by Vince Galloro
Tenn. Blues' tax status, reserves targets of bills
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