Access to reliable and affordable health care is essential for Michigan residents to lead healthy, happy lives. That’s why our prime objective as a health insurer is to help people across the state obtain the care they need, when they need it. We do this by providing a variety of health plan options to meet the needs of all those who may not receive coverage from an employer or government agency and must purchase their own health insurance plan. More than 300,000 Michiganders purchase their own coverage, without the benefit of a human resources department to help them through the process. Since the creation of the ACA Marketplace, Blue Cross has maintained a consistent presence – offering plan options in every county in Michigan and offering a choice of plans between broader-access PPO plans and less-costly, managed care HMO plans. Broad choice is something that has helped our members during times when prices have fluctuated greatly year-to-year. Consumers also have noticed insurers – not just Blue Cross – closing some plans, and opening new plans, with each new year. This year, Blue Cross has good news for our individual members and other individual health plan consumers. Our plans will remain in place. No need to switch unless you want to try something new. For more than 70 percent of our individual members, prices will increase an average of just 1.1 percent – the lowest price increase we’ve proposed during the ACA era. For the remainder, prices will rise an average of less than 5 percent. These rate changes are modest and far below the national average. But we also understand that any additional dollar we ask our members to pay, is one dollar they aren’t saving or investing elsewhere. This is why we at Blue Cross will continue to advocate for public policy changes that strengthen and stabilize the insurance market, lower costs and continue to provide access – particularly to people with pre-existing conditions. We will continue to support ways to encourage younger and healthier people to enroll – because their premiums strengthen the insurance system and help keep premiums more affordable for people who have more expensive health conditions to treat. We are promoting stability on our own by keeping our 2018 individual plans in force – 28 total plans across Gold, Silver, Bronze and Catastrophic levels – with only slight adjustments in the plan benefits to meet actuarial value requirements. Our ability to continue serving individual members over the long term is predicated on a variety of factors that contribute to sustainable pricing. Some of these factors include lowering the escalating costs of prescription drugs, encouraging people not to drop their coverage midyear, and encouraging competition among a number of insurers on the Marketplace Health insurance rate moderation for not only individual marketplace plans, but Michigan’s small businesses as well, is a result of Blue Cross’s commitment to delivering more cost-efficient health practices to the market and the continued promotion of successful collaboration between physicians and hospitals across the state. From value-based reimbursement programs with providers to creating the nation’s largest Patient-Centered Medical Home initiative, we’re always working to improve the efficiency, quality and cost of care. Photo credit: MadFish Digital
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