At Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the most important job we have is improving the health and care of our members. We strive constantly to be their trusted partner. As a health insurance company, how we achieve that is as important as what we do.
Because of this, I’m proud to tell our members and customers that 2017 was our strongest year in the history of Blue Cross. We worked hard to try and keep healthcare affordable by partnering with physicians to protect our members, we stood alongside our large and small business customers to help their employees stay healthy and we made sure that people had access to health care coverage.
Promoting access to quality, affordable care is part of our long-standing social mission. And we are proud that our solid business performance allows us to fulfill that mission.
We care about all of Michigan. This is evident in the fact that Blue Cross is the only insurer in the ACA Marketplace to provide health care coverage in each of Michigan’s 83 counties. Throughout 2017, and for the seventh straight year, more families became Blue. We improved our Risk-Based Capital position, a measure of our financial health. This gives our members even greater assurance that our company – which has served Michigan for nearly 80 years – will continue to be there for them.
We achieved these results by diversifying and growing our business and pursuing revenue from sources outside of health insurance – such as investment income and subsidiary businesses. Revenue diversification is important for our members because the greater the income from diverse sources, the less we have to depend on our health insurance customers for the revenue we need to invest in the business. Last year, our subsidiary businesses achieved an additional $700 million in revenue, bringing the total to $7.3 billion. This allows us to keep health insurance costs lower than they otherwise would be for our customers and members.
This work also helps us keep prices moderate for small businesses, fueling an increase in our small employer membership, and covering more people through their employers.
Our strong performance means we can reinvest in partnerships to expanded coverage and access in our most vulnerable populations.
Blue Cross knows that when people have access to health care, their communities are healthier and more vibrant. Our strong financial performance triggers another payment to the State of Michigan’s Health Endowment Fund, which invests in and protects our state’s vulnerable populations and subsidizes Medigap coverage. With that payment, we will have provided $355 million to the fund since 2014.
Blue Cross is built on a history of strengthening and investing in our communities. Giving back is part of the fabric of who we are, and our solid business performance allows us to do that.
We now look forward to a strong 2018, where we will continue to serve our members and the community with an emphasis on customers’ needs. And we will reaffirm our commitment to provide affordable, accessible health care options for everyone who needs it.
About the author: Daniel J. Loepp is President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
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