DETROIT, May 17, 2023 – Following minimal rate increases for Q3 and Q4 of this year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will file competitive rate adjustments for small group customer plans in the first quarter of 2024. PPO plans will see an average statewide increase of 4.9 percent and HMO plans will see an average statewide increase of 5.5 percent. These adjustments demonstrate Blue Cross’ ongoing commitment to offering health insurance cost stability and predictability to small employers. Blue Cross has a recent history of rate moderation for small employer customers – with average rate increases between 2015-2023 of just over two percent for PPO and HMO plans.
The rate adjustments result in part from higher-than-average pharmacy cost trends, specifically within specialty pharmacy, and an increase in the prescribing of new, high-cost medications, including drugs for diabetes treatment. For early 2023, BCBSM has observed year-over-year total pharmacy cost increases in excess of 20%. These trends are expected to be a challenge for the remainder of 2023 and into 2024 as additional new treatments emerge.
“Maintaining affordable, predictable rates for small business customers is important as it allows employers to plan their annual budgets more successfully, invest to grow their businesses and hire more workers,” said Sandy Fester, vice president of Michigan Business at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “We remain vigilant on the pressure that both medical and pharmacy costs are having on small employer premiums. While pharmacy trends have played a significant role in rate adjustments across the industry, our pharmacy team is engaged in strategic approaches to minimize the impact of drug costs on our customers and members.”
Small business growth in Michigan since 2020 has outperformed the nation overall at a business opening rate of 8.5% compared to 3.1% for the U.S. People receiving health insurance coverage through a small business comprise six percent of Blue Cross’ overall membership of 5.2 million.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, provides health benefits to nearly 5.2 million members. The company is committed to delivering affordable health care products through a broad variety of plans for businesses and individuals. Based in Detroit since 1939, BCBSM supports impactful community initiatives and provides leadership in improving health care across Michigan. BCBSM is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.