Premera Blue Cross, Mountlake Terrace, Wash., filed an appeal challenging state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler's decision last month to bar the company from converting to a for-profit company. Premera, which serves 1.2 million members in Washington and 110,000 in Alaska, applied for conversion in 2002. The Blues plan argued that being publicly traded would give it to greater access to capital to expand its services, invest in new technology and protect itself from economic downturns. But on July 15, Kreidler denied the proposal, arguing that the conversion would lead to premium hikes and increase Premera's chances of being acquired by a national insurance giant. Later that month, Alaska Insurance Director Linda Hall also ruled against the conversion in her state, but suggested certain changes could save Premera's plan. In its appeal, filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle, Premera contends that its proposal met the requirements of the law and that Kreidler erred by categorically denying it. -- by Laura B. Benko
Premera sues to convert to for-profit
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