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COMMUNITY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY DENOUNCES H.B. 425

 COLUMBUS, Ohio June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Community Mutual Insurance Company today labeled a proposal by State Rep. Paul Jones, D-Ravenna, "Another untenable and unwarranted intrusion into private business. Like H.B. 315, this new bill subjects Blue Cross & Blue Shield plans to conditions not placed on any other insurers in Ohio," according to Robert C. Heird, Community Mutual executive vice president.
 Heird's comments were in response to the introduction of H.B. 425, a bill that closely resembles the amendments Jones had unsuccessfully proposed to H.B. 315, his stalled bill to force the merger of the three Blue Cross & Blue Shield plans in Ohio.
 Community Mutual is adamantly opposed to both bills, arguing that competition among the plans keeps costs lower than could the monopoly which H.B. 315 would create. The forced merger also would cost Ohio businesses and their employees millions of dollars in increased health insurance premiums every year.
 "Rep. Jones continues to demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding regarding the health insurance industry and of Ohio insurance law," said Heird. "His continued attempts to thwart competition among insurance companies in Ohio defy logic. It is CMIC's contention that both H.B. 315 and H.B. 425 represent bad public policy and are not matters to be considered by the state government."
 Community Mutual maintains that both of these proposals are based on the mistaken premise that Blue Cross & Blue Shield plans are different than other insurance carriers in Ohio. "If the market and Ohio law don't recognize the difference between health insurance competitors, why should the legislature?" said Heird.
 He reiterated that Community Mutual, Cleveland Blue Cross, and Central Benefits are independent companies and no longer uniquely regulated by statute or regulation despite Jones' assertions to the contrary.
 According to numerous witnesses who have testified in opposition to H.B. 315, competition has proven to be beneficial for Ohioans as the companies continually offer new, cost effective products and services. "It's surprising to learn that certain members of the Ohio legislature don't want all insurance companies to be on a level playing field. Without question, placing shackles on these three mutual insurance companies would be detrimental to the more than four million Ohioans covered by these companies," added Heird.
 "The fact that the bill has been referred to Rep. Jones' Health and Retirement Committee is very interesting and should raise the curiosity of all those who carefully watched the course that H.B. 315 followed. There is no merit to this type of legislation. It's simply politics and the continued use of Rep. Paul Jones as the spokesperson of Cleveland Blue Cross to advance their merger proposal," said Heird.
 -0- 6/29/93
 /CONTACT: Erik Kirkhorn of Community Mutual Insurance Company, 614-460-3329/


CO: Community Mutual Insurance Company ST: Ohio IN: INS SU:

AR -- CL029 -- 6935 06/29/93 18:25 EDT
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Date:Jun 29, 1993
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