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The Reasons Behind Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Continued Moderation of Small Employer Premiums

Whatever business you’re in, it’s always a great feeling to deliver great news to your customers.

In health insurance, we take care to note that the great news we delivered this February – that our average statewide rate changes for small employer plans would once again be very moderate – must be tempered by the realities our customers face.

For small businesses in Michigan, the reality is that offering health coverage to employees remains a very costly proposition.  It’s good news for us at Blue Cross to be able to tell our customers about about our recent history of keeping rates in check. But we know there is much more work to be done to make coverage affordable over the long term.

The reason many small employers offer benefits packages is that they don’t just boost employee productivity and well-being — they also help retain valuable team members and attract top-level talent. Since small businesses – defined as having 50 or fewer employees – are the heart and soul of Michigan’s communities and economy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan strives to offer quality coverage options at competitive rates.

Twice a year, Blue Cross calculates new rates for our small business customers.  For our small group customers renewing in the second half of 2018, Blue Cross is reducing rates for HMO products by 0.2 percent and increasing PPO rates by just 2.5 percent.

Our ability to stabilize pricing is due to many factors – including more than 10 years of work by Blue Cross, along with physicians and hospitals in Michigan, to improve how health care is delivered.  Blue Cross programs like Patient-Centered Medical Homes and Value Partnerships are creating a more efficient and lower-cost health care system by emphasizing preventive care at the doctor, and cutting down on repetitive tests and readmissions to the hospital.

This is the story behind the story of lower prices for small employers.  It has taken a lot of hard work over many years, and the work continues every day.

A graphic showing rate trends over time

 

For more information about selecting the right benefits packages for your employees, see these other blogs:

 

Photo credit: Mike Miller

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