Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Airs Ads Before Rate Hike


Michigan residents may see and hear ads touting the services and products of Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance on the airwaves beginning September 14. The ad campaign, which includes six TV commercials, precedes a 22 percent rate hike that the health insurance concern secured for an October 1 start.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan provides health insurance coverage for 70 percent of the people currently insured in the state. This includes 38,000 small businesses and 4.7 million members. Other affordable health insurance providers available for Michigan residents include UniCare, Aetna, Health Alliance Plan of Michigan, and American Community Mutual Insurance (for seniors), among others.


The new Blue Cross Blue Shield ad campaign reportedly has a down-home approach and avoids any mention of the upcoming rate hike or any other unpopular changes by the health insurance provider. Instead, according to Andy Hetzel, vice president of corporate communications for Blue Cross, in a Detroit Free Press article, “We want people to know we understand what is happening in their lives, and want them toknow what we are doing to address those concerns.”

The health insurance provider is also running another ad campaign that includes sportscaster Ernie Harwell, who has cancer. The new campaign does not feature any well-known individuals. The focus of the new effort is to emphasize Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s longevity in the state (7 0 years) and the fact that it is the only insurer in the state to guarantee medical coverage.

With the new ad campaign, the state’s largest health insurance provider appears to be trying hard to project a good image despite hard times. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan experienced a $144 million loss in 2008 and subsequently cut 1,000 jobs. On September 14, 2009, the health insurance company is going before a Lansing administrative law judge to ask for a rate hike for 210,000 senior citizens with its Medigap coverage.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Detroit Free Press September 13, 2009