Pending state regulatory approval, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in Detroit will increase its statewide average insurance rates by 2.9 percent for small group employers in 2017.
The proposed increase, which company officials say is comparatively low to other states, follows rate reductions that the insurance company provided to small employer group customers that renewed during the second half of 2015.
"Maintaining reasonable costs for our customer groups is a top priority for Blue Cross, as more than 225,000 of our members receive health care coverage through small business employers," says John Dunn, vice president for middle and small group business at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Blue Cross strives to offer our business customers options they can afford in order to remain competitive and provide high quality health coverage to their workforce."
Dunn says the rates are influenced by geographic location, age, family size, and tobacco use, and only 7 percent of small businesses have confirmed the likelihood of dropping coverage in the next five years.
Average rate adjustments will be effective for Blue Cross and Blue Care Network customers renewing in the third and fourth quarters of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017.
“Blue Cross has seen an increase in small business customers providing coverage by 8 percent in the past eight months," Dunn says. "Many employers have continued to provide benefits for their employees under the new (Affordable Care Act), and some are even offering health coverage for the first time. The growth in this sector in Michigan means more people have access to the care they need."
Last year, Blue Cross, which administers health benefits to more than 4.5 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state, reported it lowered rates 3.3 percent.