Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana delays sale to Elevance Health

BATON ROUGE — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has delayed plans to be acquired by Elevance Health following political pressure by attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Jeff Landry, UWK has learned.

In an email sent to employees, Blue Cross president and CEO Dr. Steve Udvarhelyi said the company has chosen to withdraw reorganization plans with the Louisiana Department of Insurance.

“This action will provide more time for key stakeholders to understand the benefits of this transaction and how the quality services our stakeholders know and value will continue,” Udvarhelyi wrote.

The company said they do not have a timeline for refiling the plan of reorganization. Sources tell UWK that Landry told the two companies that the deal shouldn’t be finalized until after a new governor and insurance commissioner are elected.

So what does this mean for Blue Cross policyholders and employees? At the moment, nothing. It’s business as usual for the company that has already pushed back a hearing on the acquisition following a legislative hearing that raised concerns.

Blue Cross was facing a January deadline to finalize the sale. It appears the company is working with Elevance on a new filing and is “hopeful” for the transaction to close in early 2024. The company faces a $75 million exit fee if they walk away from the sale.

Blue Cross announced plans to be acquired by Elevance in January saying the deal allows them to better tackle rising health care costs. Since then, political and healthcare leaders have raised concerns about the sale. Many of the concerns surround how proceeds from the sale will be divided between policyholders and a foundation Blue Cross says they will create and control. Premium increases have also been cited as a concern for the sale.

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