N.D. Commissioner Seeking Legal Opinion on Blues’ Excess Reserves

Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman is seeking a legal opinion on the idea of premium refunds by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

In an earlier Associated Press account, Poolman suggested that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North give a refund. The company declined to comment saying that no decision had been made.

Poolman said the state’s largest insurer had more than $220 million in reserves at the end of last year, enough to cover more than four months of claims. He has suggested a one-month premium refund for policyholders, which would reduce the reserves by about $32 million.

The question before Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is whether a premium refund could be considered a dividend, which might be illegal.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is a not-for-profit, mutual insurance company, which means it is owned by its members.