Michigan BCBS CEO Defends Practices, Says Under Guidelines

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan came out with an editorial on Wednesday, defending its practices and asking for regulation of markets rather than vilification. Michigan's BCBS program is one of few in the nation that will take on customers with pre-existing conditions, which also means more expensive patients and thus higher premiums.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s president and CEO, Daniel J. Loepp wrote the editorial. The company has drawn the ire the Obama administration, as well as Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius because of its recent premium hikes.

The health insurance premiums are to be raised between 23 percent and 56 percent in Michigan for individual plans. The same goes for health insurance providers in Conn., Maine, and Wash., including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Humana, WellPoint, Cigna, and UnitedHealth.

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Nearly 10 percent of Americans remain unemployed and many of those rely on the government subsidy COBRA for health care coverage. COBRA benefits expired on Sunday due to a lone Republican’s filibuster. The other options for many is individual coverage or no coverage at all.

The rising costs of health care and insurance coverage makes it difficult for individuals and families to afford insurance.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan argues that the company is indeed following Obama’s guidelines for health care reform. The company is non-profit, does not reject patients with pre-existing conditions, and charge the same premium regardless of patient health. In fact, Blue Cross of Michigan actually reported a loss of $280 million in 2009.

Blue Cross of Michigan reveals an interesting conflict: The company adheres closely to proposed health care plans; however, the costs of doing such necessitate a rise in health insurance premiums. Money makes the world go round indeed. It continues to be the topic stopping any progress from health care reform.

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Comments

First, half of those losses are covered by surcharges to their group customers. So they are grossly overstated. Second, half of those losses are in their Medigap product that wasn't part of the reform they were asking for. 3) Get $100 million in tax benefits in exchange of their monopoly in the market and being carrier of last resort.
Get ready for Obamacare.. Guaranteed Issue has always been a failure. Research NY and NJ. Rates in those two states makes rates in Michigan look like peanuts.