Insurance chief says Bryant call for hearings on BCBS is premature

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says in a letter to Gov. Phil Bryant that he thinks Bryant exceeded his authority in directing the Insurance Department to hold hearings on a reimbursement impasse between Health Management Associates and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi.

“I am deeply disappointed that you did not rescind Sections 1,2,3 and 6 of this order to the extent to which it directs action by the Mississippi Insurance Department,” Bryant wrote in the Oct. 31 letter.

Bryant waded into the reimbursement dispute last week with an executive order for Blue Cross and Blue Shield to reinstate the Health Management Associates hospitals whose contracts it severed on Sept. 1. With a loss in a court challenge from BCBS, Bryant backed off the reinstatement order. But he kept the part of the order that directed the Insurance Department to investigate Blue Cross’ provider viability and to conduct hearings on the issue.

Chaney said he is investigating the viability of Blue Cross Blue Shields’ provider network on his own volition. But he added that Bryant’s order for the hearings “contradicts certain provisions of the Mississippi Insurance code.”