James MacPherson, Published October 15 2009
ND Insurance Commissioner Hamm says Blues take positive stepBISMARCK - North Dakota's insurance commissioner says a promise by the state's dominant insurer to cut excessive expenses is a positive step toward rebuilding policyholders' trust.
Commissioner Adam Hamm ordered Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota to make changes last month after a financial report that questioned compensation, travel policies, investments and severance packages. Hamm says the report found ``millions and millions' of dollars in questionable expenses and ``a lack of judgment' by board members and senior management. It was the first audit of the nonprofit company since 2004.
In its response to Hamm, the insurer says it has temporarily frozen executive salaries and cut back on parties, gifts, travel and charter flights. The Blues also said it won't buy alcohol for board members or employees at functions.
Blue Cross Blue Shield provides health care coverage to more than 375,000 North Dakota residents and 75,000 nonresidents.
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