Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Returns Money to Customers, Individuals

by Amy Barczy

| 4 min read

Detroit skyline at dusk
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is returning more than $100 million to many fully insured customers this year. As the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted what we consider to be normal life in many ways, it has not left the health care system untouched. People are not receiving medical, dental and vision care at the same pace that they usually do, as non-emergency services have been slowed – and in some cases, halted. As a result, Blue Cross isn’t paying out as many claims and has resources available to help business customers and individuals in numerous ways as they move through the pandemic crisis. This week, Blue Cross announced a number of premium refunds along with rate stability measures for fully insured customers. This response joins other efforts we’ve made to help customers, including: $37 million back to small group customers for medical plans, $10.5 million shared refund to Blue Dental and Blue Vision employer group customers, $45 million paid directly to individual health plan members from 2019 through rebates and more. The refunds are in addition to $494 million that BCBSM has invested in expanding the availability of no-cost benefits for members and to support health providers in response to COVID-19 – bringing the BCBSM enterprise’s commitment in response to the crisis to nearly $600 million. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Cross has been working to provide customers with information and solutions to help navigate the health care system during an unprecedented time, taking many steps to remove barriers to healthcare for members and to keep care affordable. Improving Access to Care For Blue Cross and Blue Care Network members, Covid-19 treatment is free through Dec. 31, 2020. Diagnostic testing is also covered at no cost as of March 18, 2020. And we realize that during the pandemic people are seeing their doctors in different ways, so Blue Cross and Blue Care Network are providing free access to telehealth services for medical and behavioral health through June 30. Most Medicare Advantage members also receive these same benefits through Dec. 31. Additionally, Medicare Advantage members will receive free access to all the services provided in their primary care physicians office. To help members safely social distance and protect their health, Blue Cross is also allowing members to receive more of their prescription medications at once to limit trips to the pharmacy. Helping Seniors Senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to severe illness from the coronavirus and may be socially isolated from friends and family as a result. Blue Cross has taken extra steps to help senior members through the pandemic by initiating contact to connect them with resources and community services and targeting high-risk seniors with extra help. Prioritizing Behavioral Health By working with behavioral health care providers to bring their services into a telehealth platform, Blue Cross doctors are leading a new era in behavioral health treatment. Many low-risk substance use disorder patients can be treated from the safety of their homes. This even includes group therapy situations. These telehealth efforts have helped improve access to mental health and substance use disorder care for members in rural Michigan. Reaching Out to Communities Blue Cross has taken an all-hands-on-deck approach to helping communities through the pandemic. For small business owners, there’s a new special support program. For displaced workers, there are new transition services in place. The pandemic has also placed a glaring spotlight on the racial disparities and inequities in health care. Blue Cross is taking steps to act now and, in the future, to address health disparities and to work with government officials. That includes contributing funding to a mobile testing unit to bring COVID-19 testing directly to people where they are through a partnership with Wayne State University. Empowering Health Care Workers Blue Cross is supporting health care workers as they tackle COVID-19. Together with 35 hospitals in Michigan, Blue Cross started a COVID-19 data collection effort to help identify best care practices and possible treatments. More than 30 of Blue Cross’ employees with medical backgrounds volunteered to help on the front lines. Blue Cross has also accelerated payments to providers to help them better respond to their patients’ needs. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is committed to continuing to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 across the entirety of the business and will keep customers informed as more information becomes available. Stay up to date with the latest news and information at or More from
Photo credit: Steven_Kriemadis

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Julie Bitely

Jun 5, 2020 at 6:45pm

At this time, only individual health plan members from 2019 and fully insured small group customers will receive premium credits. However, we will continue to monitor claim trends in 2020 for fully insured, larger group customers with more than 50 employees. If claims trends remain lower, we may take additional actions to provide relief to larger employers this year.

Gerd Hansma

Jun 4, 2020 at 5:12pm

Are there any refunds for large group, say over 100?

Blues Perspectives

May 22, 2020 at 9:29pm

Thanks for your question, Wilson. If your employer pays your insurance premiums and they have 50 or fewer employees, your employer will receive a 30% credit on their July premium invoice. Let us know if you have further questions.

Wilson Combs

May 20, 2020 at 4:28pm

Will you be sending us a refund check my employer pays for my insurance so will I get money?

MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association