Maryland officials, the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and CareFirst Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Owings Mills, Md., agreed on a revised reform plan that restores CareFirst's Blues license. The settlement, approved Friday by U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz in Baltimore, locks in CareFirst's not-for-profit status for five years and includes provisions to replace its board members, main goals of a new Maryland law. But the deal also scales back the power the law granted to Maryland officials to regulate CareFirst's operations and executive compensation. Those were key sticking points for the national Blues association, which terminated the insurer's license because it viewed the law as a state takeover. The battle over CareFirst began in 2001, when the insurer announced plans to convert to for-profit status and merge with WellPoint Health Networks. Maryland's then-insurance commissioner struck down the deal in March, criticizing CareFirst for failing to negotiate a fair price and for approving bonus packages for its top executives. -- by Laura B. Benko
CareFirst to keep Blues license under settlement
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