Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Raising Rates

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Health insurance premiums for nearly 200,000 people covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan policies would increase an average of 22 percent -- far less than the company originally sought -- under a tentative agreement reached Thursday.
The deal reached between Attorney General Mike Cox and Blue Cross would cover the company's so-called non-group and group conversion policies. Those policies typically are bought by people under 65 who aren't covered by employer-based or government plans.
The tentative agreement must be approved by state regulators. It was not clear late Thursday how quickly regulators would act.
Earlier this year, Blue Cross requested rate increases averaging 42 percent to 56 percent for the policies, saying they were money-losers and dragging down the nonprofit's bottom line. Cox challenged that proposal and state regulators set up rate hearings that would end if Thursday's deal is approved.
Rate increase hearings will continue for Blue Cross' Medicare supplemental or "Medigap" policies, which are not covered by the tentative agreement.
Cox, a Republican who is running for governor in 2010, called the deal "a victory for families who are struggling to afford access to health care." Cox said Blue Cross rates would have wound up far higher if he had not intervened.
Blue Cross would be allowed to raise monthly premiums by an average of $47 for individuals in non-group policies, Cox's office said, compared to the original request of $122 per month.
The rate increases would take effect Oct. 1.
Blue Cross says Michigan has a "broken regulatory system" and is seeking changes to state law guiding the insurance market. Blue Cross, which can't turn away customers willing to pay for health coverage, says it often gets saddled with expensive patients who have been rejected by for-profit companies.
"Because of financial losses and the prospect of a lengthy rate-setting process, we determined new rates were needed sooner rather than later," Blue Cross spokesman Andrew Hetzel said in a statement.

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  • by Maria Location: Okemos, MI on Aug 18, 2009 at 10:33 AM
    I am a State of Michigan employee. It is currently the open enrollment period so I have been doing a lot of research on HMOs. I am going to switch my plan to McLaren Health Plan because it is so affordable. Also, members are happy with the care and service that they offer.
  • by frank Location: St.Clair Shores on Aug 14, 2009 at 09:04 AM
    How many people are like me? My wife and I have paid about $16,000.00 to BCBS over last 3 years and they have paid NOTHING because (thank God) we have NEVER met our deductible limit. SO we pay the whole bill at our doctors and lab test. How much have they made on people like us?
  • by ben on Aug 12, 2009 at 10:27 PM
    Why not , get on the band wagon ? I agree the drug companies are out of control too,makes you wish we had a good government that could figure all of this out, for the GOOD of the people, and raise hell with the greed behind all of this healthcare ploy
  • by judy Location: jackson on Aug 12, 2009 at 05:44 AM
    Me and my husband are loosing our jobs at Sparton. We need affordable health care benefits. Unemployment does not pay our bills. Everybody is getting to greedy. I think that corporate managers should take a 50% pay cut.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 7, 2009 at 06:00 AM
    Soon they will have NO bussiness as greed runs their bussiness.Many companies used this ins for their employees.However many companies have laid off or closed.So this is how they make up the differance.I'm sure if national health does kick in they'll have a hard time getting people to buy.Oh well,make what they can now because it won't last forever.
  • by Houston Location: Mason on Aug 7, 2009 at 05:50 AM
    Why does nobody say anything about the drug companies that charge hundreds of times the cost of producing these prescription drugs? They have a monopoly and no one is doing anything about it. The insurance companies have very little control over what they have to pay for drugs.
  • by local resident on Aug 7, 2009 at 03:39 AM
    22 percent increase? I sure wish I was getting a 22 percent increase this year. Maybe BCBSM needs to look at how much they are paying their executives and reroute some of those funds to paying insurance claims.
  • by Nancy Stockenauer Location: Dimondale on Aug 6, 2009 at 08:49 PM
    Blue Cross Blue Shield is trying to make it on the backs of people that cannot afford more...those without insurance coverage looking for the lowest price possible and those on Medicare who also cannot afford higher costs. They already pay higher deductibles with higher copays in most cases. As with this company and others, start my lowering the excessively high salaries of CEOs that are not capable of running a company with cuts where needed the most first. If BCBS goes out of business in the long run, so beit. They deserve it if they can't begin "at home".
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