NU Online News Service, March 22, 12:55 p.m. – Cobalt Corp., Milwaukee, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Wisconsin, has a won a major legal battle in the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The court has denied a petition for review filed by consumer groups that wanted to challenge the converted that created Cobalt.

“This decision officially ends all legal challenges involving the conversion,” Cobalt says in a statement responding to the denial.

Cobalt, now a for-profit, publicly traded company, previously was Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin, a nonprofit health services corporation. Wisconsin Blue converted in March 2001.

Wiscon regulators say nonprofit companies hold their assets in trust for the people of the state.

Before converting, Wisconsin Blue compensated the public for the conversion of nonprofit assets by donating what it said was the full value of the company to charity.

Some consumer groups objected when they heard that some of the funds would be going to pay for medical education and research, rather than programs to make medical services available to the poor.

The Wisconsin United for Health Foundation was created after Blue Cross & Blue Shield United of Wisconsin merged with United Wisconsin Services, Inc. in March 2001.