Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Puts Forward Very Small Rate Increases for ACA Marketplace Health Plan Rates for 2019 Open Enrollment
by Brianna Neace
| 3 min read
DETROIT, June 15, 2018 – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network will keep average price increases for individual market health plans below five percent for the upcoming open enrollment period, pending approval of rates filed with state regulators this week. To promote stability in the 2019 Affordable Care Act Marketplace, BCBSM and BCN will keep intact all their plans from 2018, with only slight adjustments in the plan benefits to meet actuarial value requirements. Keeping all plans from 2018 will allow members to retain policies and not worry about changing plans due to product closures. Premiums for 2019 plans represent the smallest increases to Marketplace health plans since the start of the ACA market in 2014. The Blue Care Network plans – representing 90 percent of total individual product enrollment in 2018 – will experience a very small average increase of only 1.1%. BCBSM PPO plans have a relatively small increase as well, an average of only 4.2% “We continue to advocate for policy improvements in the ACA that promote long-term affordability and market sustainability,” said Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Ensuring Michigan residents have access to the care they need is Blue Cross’ main priority. Since entering the ACA exchange, Blue Cross has been a constant, reliable coverage provider for people throughout Michigan, and we’re pleased to be able to promote stability in plans and pricing into 2019.” Blue Cross rate adjustments for 2019 Marketplace health plans are far below the national average with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimating a 34 percent average rate increase for the most popular silver plans on the ACA exchange. Overall, projected U.S. rate increases between seven and 15 percent are expected over the next two years. “While the health care landscape continues to evolve at a national level, we’re looking forward to maintaining a variety of health plan options to meet the needs of all those impacted by these changes in regard to both access and affordability,” said Terry Burke, vice president of Individual Business for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Our team is continually looking for ways to hold the line on plan premiums and provide members with the coverage and care they’ve come to expect from Blue Cross.” Health insurance rate moderation in Michigan is a result of Blue Cross’ emphasis on delivering more cost-efficient health practices to the market and successful collaboration between physicians and hospitals across the state to provide an enhanced care experience for members. These efforts include the company’s value-based reimbursement programs with providers, the nation’s largest Patient-Centered Medical Home initiative and more than 25 other Value Partnerships programs designed to improve the efficiency and quality of care, directly saving more than $1.4 billion in costs statewide. Several factors contribute to premium increases within Michigan’s individual health insurance market including pharmacy pricing, people dropping coverage midyear, an unbalanced risk pool and insurers leaving the exchange. In relation to the insurance risk pool specifically, the repeal of the ACA’s Individual Mandate for 2019 may significantly impact premiums in years ahead due to an anticipated decline of younger, healthier people enrolling on the Marketplace. In fact, the CBO estimates 13 million fewer Americans will be insured by 2027. Offering a variety of plan options – 28 total plans across Gold, Silver, Bronze and Catastrophic levels – Blue Cross remains the only insurer in the state to offer a PPO plan on the exchange and provide coverage in each of Michigan’s 83 counties. 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 and administers health benefits to more than 4.6 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com and mibluesperspectives.com.