Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Moderates 2021 Rates for Small Business Customers
by Brianna Neace
| 3 min read
DETROIT, March 19, 2021 – Small group customers renewing in the third and fourth quarters of 2021 will see statewide average rate increases below two percent for the remainder of the year on their Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network health plans. These rate adjustments are consistent with those filed by Blue Cross for the first and second quarters of 2021, representing an ongoing effort to moderate costs. Average rate adjustments will consist of a 0.9 percent increase for BCBSM PPO plans and 1.9 percent for BCN HMO plans. Since 2015, small group rates have remained moderate with a total average increase of only 1.2 percent over the last six years, delivering reliable coverage at a predictable price point for small businesses during these economically challenging times. “The last thing small businesses need right now is more surprises, especially when it comes to health care coverage for themselves and their employees,” said Sandra Fester, vice president of Middle and Small Group Business at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “We know this is a critical time for employers and every dollar counts, so we’re committed to doing our part to ensure maintaining health care coverage is not another concern, but a value-add for their business as they focus on the future.” Michigan is home to more than 885,000 small businesses, which employ 49% of the state’s workforce. Closures during the pandemic resulted in an almost 40% drop in small business revenue as of March 2021, compared to January 2020. Despite these hardships, the small group coverage market has remained stable with a recent rise in employee growth signaling the promise of economic recovery. Currently, over 290,000 Blue Cross members receive health care coverage through small business employers. Average rate increases for small business health plans in 2021 are below national projections. Experts estimate premium increases between five to 10 percent across the country due to the unknown costs of deferred care during the pandemic, with some states already filing rate increases of up to seven percent. Recognizing the severe impact of COVID on small businesses, Blue Cross and BCN put forth significant effort to help employers maintain health coverage for their employees and more easily access care. This support includes the return of $37 million to small group customers for their medical plans, free COVID testing and $0 cost-share on COVID vaccines until further notice, and waived copays and deductibles for COVID-related treatments through Sept. 30, 2021, among other efforts. 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 more than 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.