Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan continues moderate rate trend for small businesses

Blues' first-quarter statewide average rate increase is in single digits

October 10, 2012

DETROIT — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan continues to offer moderate rate increases for Michigan small employers. BCBSM announced a 7.5 percent statewide average increase for small employers renewing their coverage in first quarter 2013. Contributing to the moderating rate trend were Blues’ efforts to develop and bring more cost-effective products to market, the promotion of wellness activities for members, and partnerships with doctors and hospitals statewide to improve health care quality and patient outcomes.

The Blues' statewide average increase for small employers continues a trend of statewide average rate increases in the single digits that began in fourth quarter 2011. The average rate increase includes both medical and pharmacy coverage.

Blue Care Network also announced statewide average rate increases, which are pending approval by state regulators, in the single digits — an average of 5.1 percent for its small group customers renewing in first quarter 2013. BCN has seen membership growth of its Healthy Blue LivingSM product alongside a new generation wellness product called Healthy Blue Living RewardsSM, a plan that’s health outcomes-based and priced 5 percent lower than the original offering.

“We’re seeing results from introducing innovative health plans to our customers with a focus on cost savings and member health,” said John Dunn, BCBSM vice president, middle and small group business.

During the last several years, the Blues have made significant efforts to bring innovative plans to market that encourage better health for Blues members and Michigan families. The company has experienced success with its Total Health Engagement model that works to help provide quality care at the lowest possible cost by:

  • Leveraging the trusted relationship between members and their doctors
  • Rewarding doctors for focusing on their patients’ health
  • Improving health care quality, cost efficiency and outcomes
  • Matching innovative plans and programs to people’s needs


One facet of the Total Health Engagement effort is continued success of the Blues’ Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program, the nation's largest, just one of more than 45 active initiatives with physician organizations and hospitals that are improving the quality of health care and lowering costs through increased efficiencies, care coordination and encouraging more appropriate medical utilization.

Data from 2012 show that the Michigan Blues’ PCMH practices have patients who require fewer hospital admissions and emergency room visits than patients in non-designated practices.  

For example, adult patients in Blue-designated PCMH practices had a 23.8 percent lower rate of hospital admissions for certain conditions than non-designated practices. These are examples where appropriate care in a doctor’s office or clinic is preventing a medical condition from worsening.

Blue-designated PCMH practices also had an 8.3 percent lower rate of adult high-tech radiology use, a 9.3 percent lower rate of adult ER visits and a 3.0 percent higher rate of dispensing generic drugs over non-PCMH doctors.

Over a three-year period, four other BCBSM programs working to improve the quality of common medical procedures performed in Michigan hospitals have produced $232.8 million in health care cost savings and have lowered complication and mortality rates for thousands of patients, including many not covered by carriers other than Blue Cross.

BCBSM also reduced the price of some of its health savings account plans by 10 percent and BCN 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 Blue, Simply Blue and Healthy Blue Incentives PPOs; Blue Care Network HMO; BCN Healthy Blue Living; Flexible Blueplans compatible with health savings accounts; Medicare Advantage; Part D Prescription Drug plans; and MyBlue 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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