Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan continues recent trend of moderate rate increases for Michigan small employers

Blues third-quarter statewide average rate increase is 7 percent

April 3, 2012

DETROIT — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan continues to offer more moderate rate increases for Michigan small employers. Today, BCBSM announced a statewide average increase of 7 percent for the third quarter of 2012. The Blues credit this moderate trend in premium growth to efforts to bring more cost-effective products to market, promote wellness, and partner with physicians and hospitals statewide to improve health care quality.

The Blues' statewide average increase of 7 percent for small employers is significantly lower when compared to average increases of about 12 percent for the same period in both 2011 and 2010.

"It’s always good to tell your customers that you’re dealing successfully with their top priority," said Kenneth Dallafior, BCBSM senior vice president for group business and corporate marketing. "Blue Cross' work with doctors and hospitals to improve quality, control costs and help people live healthier lives is paying off for Michigan employers."

During 2011 the Blues experienced membership growth for the first time since 2008, with a membership gain of 61,846 driven by new business growth and higher retention of existing business. Total combined membership for BCBSM and its HMO subsidiary, Blue Care Network, grew to 4,414,620 Michigan members in 2011.

The Blues have made significant efforts to bring more affordable health plan options to market and promote better health for members. The Blues also launched the nation's largest Patient-Centered Medical Home program and now have more than 45 active initiatives with physician organizations and hospitals that are improving the quality of health care and lowering its cost.

"Our focus at Blue Cross is to enhance the value of our health care system overall," said John Dunn, BCBSM vice president for middle and small group business. "These efforts are now delivering tangible benefits to employers and consumers who pay for health care."

"Blue Cross has made a concerted effort to bring significantly more affordable and flexible products to the market," Dunn said. "We now have more choices for employers, including Simply Blue, which is our most successful new product in three decades."

Simply Blue PPO launched in 2011. Currently, more than 134,000 people are enrolled in Simply Blue – and almost 15 percent of the employers that offer it are new customers for BCBSM.

"Simply Blue and its partner – Healthy Blue Living – are giving Blue Cross and Blue Care Network the ability to deliver choice and flexibility to employers that are searching for lower premiums and wellness incentives as ways to address their cost concerns," Dunn said.

Simply Blue is flexible and has a range of benefit plan options. Employers can choose from several deductible and copayment options that can be paired with a health reimbursement arrangement or health savings account. The product is priced from 5 percent to 15 percent below other Blue Cross PPO plans. Dental, vision and prescription drug plans are available for employers to complete their employee benefit package.

Blue Care Network also announced statewide average rate increases of below 7 percent for its small group customers. Blue Care Network experienced record-breaking membership in 2011 of 696,244 members overall – an increase of more than 46,000 members enrolled in the HMO. Blue Care Network’s popular Healthy Blue Living product has grown to include a new generation wellness product called Healthy Blue Living Rewards that is health outcomes-based and priced 5 percent lower than the original offering. Blue Cross also reduced the price of some of its health savings account plans by 10 percent and has introduced focused HMO products at lower prices than standard HMO plans.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.4 million members residing in Michigan in addition to members of Michigan-headquartered groups who reside outside the state. The company offers a broad variety of plans including Community BlueSM, Simply BlueSM and Healthy Blue IncentivesSM PPOs; Blue Care Network HMO; BCN Healthy Blue LivingSM; Flexible BlueSM plans compatible with health savings accounts; Medicare Advantage; Part D Prescription Drug plans; and MyBlueSM products in the under-age-65 individual market. BCBSM also offers dental, vision and hearing plans. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com.

©1996-2014 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We provide health insurance in Michigan.

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