Decision on Blue Cross sale expected within 30 days

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— A decision on whether to allow an Indianapolis company to buy Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado, the state's oldest health insurer, is expected within 30 days.

Insurance Commissioner William Kirven closed a public hearing on the sale Tuesday, after listening to insurance regulators and consumer advocates who support the sale. He would only say he would issue his decision within 30 days.

Under the proposed sale, Blue Cross's 400,000 customers will become members of Anthem Inc., an Indianapolis-based company that runs Blue Cross systems in four states.

Anthem has pledged to give at least $155 million, an amount larger than Blue Cross' value according to an independent auditor.

Blue Cross officials said they are ready to proceed with the sale, which is expected to close before the new year.

Deputy insurance commissioner Maryellen Waggoner said the sale might be approved.

''Given the continued financial deterioration of the company, this is a good deal for the citizens of the state of Colorado and a good deal for the policyholders,'' she said.

Non-profit Blue Cross has been trying to convert itself into a for-profit company for more than two years.

But after losing $57 million and 70,000 members, the company decided in March to give up efforts to remain independent and become a subsidiary of Anthem.

State law requires that sale proceeds go to a charitable foundation to help people get medical care.

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