One thing you quickly understand in a retail market is that price is king. Another is that consumers, not companies, define the market. Companies that win customers in a retail market are able to find that magical place where they offer the right product, at the right price. As health insurance goes retail in Michigan and we look forward to “Affordable Care Act 2.0” kicking off this coming November 15, Blue Cross is trying our best to get to that magical place where customers will find what they want, at a price point they feel is right. This past weekend, Blue Cross asked state regulators to approve 41 different health insurance product options for people under 65 who are not covered at work. This is more than double the number of health plans we offered last year in the individual market. We also held the line on pricing – holding the average premium increase for our carry-over health plans to less than 10 percent. Pending approval by regulators, price points across our 41-product portfolio will range from as little as $136 per month to as much as $1,294 per month, and everywhere in between. Federal subsidies will continue to help eligible people lower these costs. This breadth of products, offered at a range of price points, gives Michigan consumers the opportunity to find a product that meets their needs at a cost they can afford. And consumer needs – and cost – have been very much on our mind. Among the new products Blue Cross asked regulators to approve are two new health plans that are built on local networks of hospitals and doctors in southeast Michigan. Called Metro Detroit EPO and Metro Detroit HMO, these plans are very new concepts designed especially around the needs of some consumers who don’t typically use health services outside their local areas. People who subscribe to these products will receive their care locally – with top-quality doctors and hospitals located exclusively in Metro Detroit. Consumers will benefit from prices that are more affordable than they would get from other Blues’ products with more traditional, broad-based networks like our statewide PPO plans. Another option we proposed to regulators is a Platinum-level plan – a very rich benefit option for people who told us they want comprehensive services, including dental and vision coverage, a low deductible and low out-of-pocket maximum – that they would be willing to pay a higher monthly premium to receive. We have to wait for the regulators to approve our products, and then for open enrollment to begin on November 15. But we are excited about the choices we aim to provide. At Blue Cross, we are working hard to ensure that we have a health plan that you are confident is right for you.
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