Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's Downtown Consolidations

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), a major provider of health insurance plans to businesses, government units and private individuals in the state of Michigan, and its subsidiary, Accident Fund Insurance Company of America (AFICA) are in the process of relocating and consolidating workers in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Detroit and their suburbs to downtown locations in those cities. In addition to consolidating its existing workers, AFICA will add over 500 new workers to its Lansing-area work force. In all, BCBSM and AFICA will have moved workers from nine suburban and urban worksites to five urban worksites, investing significantly in constructing and renovating the new sites. These relocations are part of Blue Cross’s desire to contribute to enhancing the vitality of Michigan’s urban cores.

BCBSM has retained Anderson Economic Group, LLC (AEG) to assess the effects of these three downtown consolidations of workers. In this report we discuss the benefits that these plans will have in terms of both quantitative economic measures, such as employment, earnings, and tax revenue, and the important signaling, cultural, and place-making effects of having a large, stable employer in these cities’ downtowns.

Role of Blue Cross in Michigan's Health Insurance Market

The Coalition for Access and Affordability in Michigan (CAAM) commissioned Anderson Economic Group to complete an independent analysis of the special role played by Blue Cross in the Michigan health insurance market. In particular, we were commissioned to: review the Michigan health insurance market, identify the specific statutory mission of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) within that market, and to estimate, where data are available, the benefits and the burdens that result from the company’s activities under the current statutory mission.

As recently introduced legislation would change the relative burdens of Blue Cross and commercial insurers, it is informative to look at BCBSM’s historic role in the Michigan health in surance market, the original rationale for its unique tax benefit, and the costs and benefits of fulfilling its mission today. This paper looks at all of these areas to assess the impact of pending legislation.