Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Sees Volume of Health Care Claims Returning to Pre-Pandemic Levels
DETROIT, August 10, 2020 – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is seeing a steady increase in weekly and monthly health care claims that suggests people are resuming elective procedures delayed by concerns over COVID-19 and decisions by health systems to reallocate care delivery resources to the front lines to care for COVID-19 patients during the worst of the pandemic in Michigan.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant disruption in the delivery of health care services across Michigan and throughout the nation,” said BCBSM president and CEO Daniel J. Loepp. “Blue Cross responded by supporting our partners in the health care ecosystem with an uninterrupted stream of claims payments, advancing incentive program payouts to sustain providers, enabling physicians to consult with patients in new ways via telemedicine, and by refunding nearly $100 million to many fully insured customers. Our health care economy is showing signs of resuming a more normal footing, and while there still may be volatility in the months ahead, we are pleased our members are able and feel more comfortable to get the care they need.”
After declines that briefly reduced claims by one-half year over year in April, health care claims submissions to Blue Cross and Blue Care Network have steadily risen by an average of five to seven percent per week and are currently running at or above historical levels. The data shows some services are above historical levels in many market segments, including inpatient hospital admissions, specialty prescription drugs and behavioral health.
Blue Cross and Blue Care Network continue to pay for COVID-19 care for all fully insured members–- paying treatment costs along with member cost-sharing through December 31. Employer group customers that are self-insured make decisions regarding their own benefits.
Claims volume was reduced earlier this year beginning with Michigan’s first wave of COVID-19 infections in March. During that time BCBSM saw a reduction in total claims for medical care as physicians and other providers closed clinical offices and cancelled non-urgent procedures to comply with government stay home, stay safe orders and patients’ avoidance and deferring of non-urgent health care services.
Blue Cross expects additional health care costs as people seek non-COVID-19 care they deferred earlier this year coupled with future COVID testing, treatment and potential vaccines.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.5 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.