Ignoring the political rhetoric, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan plans to cut its small business group rates in the second half of 2017. The healthcare company wants to decrease rates “an average of 1.3 percent for those customers renewing” for organizations renewing later this year. “Blue Care Network also has filed for a 3.2 percent rate cut for its small group customers” according to Crains Detroit. This comes a year after the company raised rates 2.9%.
In an environment where healthcare costs are a toxic talking point, Blue Cross is creating its own niche within the industry. From 2014 until this year, ” the average annual rate increase for small group health insurance products has been 0.2 percent for Blue Cross and 0.3 percent for Blue Care.”
While this is good for Blue Cross, the current healthcare climate is still negative at best. This does beg the question of if the feedback of current healthcare rules were given too early. Unfortunately there is no way to know as many people have already made up their mind about the Affordable Care Act, but if insurers along with doctors and government connected to improve our current system it might have worked. It still might.
So how are they doing it when media outlets paint a picture of eminent doom? “Sandy Fester, Blue Cross’ vice president of middle and small group business, said the Affordable Care Act and Blue Cross’ conversion to a nonprofit mutual health insurer has helped it stabilize its small group rates the past three years.”
“We are better at managing our costs and have seen that trend come down the last three years,” said Fester, adding: “We are no longer the carrier of last resort and that, along with risk adjustments and tightly managed benefit costs, has (helped the) total decline.”