The negotiation of the sale of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBS Montana) to Chicago based Health Care Service Corporation resulted in the creation of The Montana Healthcare Foundation, a new 501(c)(3) with a commission to "improve the quality, availability, and awareness of healthcare programs and services for Montanans." 

The foundation is expected to achieve it's goal through its ability to direct multiple millions of dollars obtained from the sale of BCBS Montana.

"Montana Healthcare Foundation has received some 40 million dollars, and will receive more as a result of the sale of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana," said Montana Healthcare Foundation Interim Trustee Ed Eck explains. "Those funds will be used by the foundation to help address some of Montana's health care needs and we are now in the process of looking for trustees."

Five individuals will be appointed by Montana Attorney General Tim Fox to help decide how and where the Montana Healthcare Foundation's money is spent. Although there are few limitations on where the money can go, there are limitations on who can sit on the board of trustees. For instance, all trustees must have their primary residence in Montana.

"None of the members of the foundation can be employed or have been employed by Blue Cross Blue Shield Montana or the company that purchased it," Eck said. "None of them can be public officials. So it will be an entirely independent board... independent of state government. The first and foremost criterion, at least in my mind, is a strong interest in health care."

The deadline for trustee nominations is August 9 and the deadline for applications is August 23. Eck expects that there will be nearly $ 140 million in the Montana Healthcare Foundation coffers by the time all of the BCBS Montana assets are sold.

Ed Eck: