Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to Return More Than $21 Million to Current, Under-65 Individual Plan Subscribers in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic
DETROIT, Aug. 17, 2020 – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network will waive 30% of one month of health and dental plan premiums for more than 180,000 active, commercially insured individual health plan subscribers this fall. Totaling more than $21 million, the refunds will be delivered in the form of premium credits on November invoices, pending approval of plans filed with state regulators this week. The credits are a response to lower than expected health care claims resulting from the disruption in the delivery of health and dental services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many people in Michigan are struggling with the economic impacts of the pandemic, so we’re very pleased to provide a credit that will reduce November premiums by 30 percent for our individual plan members,” said Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan President and CEO Daniel J. Loepp. “It’s critical for people to maintain their health insurance coverage, especially during a pandemic, and Blue Cross is doing what we can to help.”
Individual health plans are strongly regulated, and many subscribers receive federal tax subsidies to lower their premiums. Before making today’s announcement, BCBSM worked carefully with federal and state regulators to ensure that providing premium relief would not jeopardize subscribers’ eligibility for Advance Premium Tax Credits or increase their tax liability to the IRS. Guidance recently came down from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, allowing BCBSM to proceed with premium credits fully confident that subscribers would not be negatively affected.
The refunds are in addition to more than $100 million in previously announced refunds for health, dental and vision premiums for seniors, employer group customers and 2019 individual health plan subscribers. Additionally, BCBSM has invested more than $150 million in expanding benefits for members during the pandemic – including waiving cost sharing for COVID-19 treatment for fully-insured members through December 31, 2020. BCBSM also has put $687 million behind support for physicians and health systems during the pandemic period, in the form of payment advances that have enabled physician offices to invest in COVID-related services and telemedicine technology, and enabled health systems to continue essential operations with predictable revenue.
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 health benefits to more than 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies residing outside the state. The company has been committed to delivering affordable health care products through a broad variety of plans for businesses, individuals and seniors for 80 years. Beyond health care coverage, BCBSM supports impactful community initiatives and provides leadership in improving health care. For more information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.