Posts Tagged - ‘Blue Cross Blue Shield’

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Rate Hikes for Health Insurance Plans Requested in North Carolina

Thursday, August 19th, 2010
health insurance plans

In North Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield has asked to increase the monthly premiums of its health insurance plans by an average of 7 percent.

However, the rate hikes aren’t across the board. Some of the 300,000 individual health insurance customers in the state may actually end up saving money through cheaper rates, while a handful of others will experience severe premium jumps of 40 or 50 percent.

The insurer blames rising medical costs for the increase, and says that it would have been even higher without the limitations imposed by healthcare reform. It remains to be seen if the state will approve their proposal.

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Rhode Island Health Insurance Premiums To Increase

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Image: taberandrew under CC 3.0

Bad news for Rhode Island health insurance consumers: the insurance commissioner just approved several premium increases.

The health insurance rate hikes, which become effective next year, are as follows:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island: 9.8% for small and large business health insurance
  • United HealthCare: 12.3% for firms with under 50 employees, and 8.4% for larger companies
  • Tufts: 11% and 10.2%, respectively

On the bright side, these rate hikes are lower than those originally requested.

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Patients Stay In Hotels For Cheaper Health Care

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Image: kevindooley under CC 3.0)

Hospitalization tends to be very expensive. The cost is passed onto you through your health insurance premiums.

A new program in Boston is experimenting with different tactics. People with in-patient procedures and surgeries that are not critical are staying in nearby hotel or motel rooms, as opposed to limited hospital beds. Even though the pilot program involves a Hilton hotel instead of the local Super 8, it still saves 15-20% over recuperation in a hospital.

It’s probably cheaper–which is appealing to health insurance plans such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, who will often cover the combined cost–but is it safe? A nurse stays in the room next to the patient at all times.

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Health Insurance Rate Increases Blocked Temporarily

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Image: walknboston under CC 3.0

Yesterday, a judge in Massachusetts denied health insurance companies’ requests for rate increases. They were seeking to increase small business and individual health insurance rates anywhere from 8% to 32%.

The judge blocked a preliminary injunction that would’ve blocked the state Insurance Department’s refusal of the rate increases. The insurers can–and will–appeal, but for now they must continue offering health insurance plans at last year’s rates.

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Mass. Insurers Agree To Pause Rate Increases

Friday, April 9th, 2010

When deciding on the monthly rates of a health insurance plan, insurers consider several factors. Maximizing revenue is one of the goals, as is minimizing costs. Another concern is whether their proposed rate increases will pass muster with state–and now federal–regulators.

In Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick recently denied a series of monthly rate increases that sometimes reached 32%, far beyond the rate of inflation. Rather than propose less severe increases, many health insurance companies have stopped selling coverage after April 1st.

Two major providers, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Tufts Health Plan, have taken a different tactic: they have agreed to resume writing new policies for individuals and small businesses at last year’s rates, at least temporarily. Meanwhile, all major insurers are working to meet the deadline for more affordable health insurance premium increases. Granted, it is unknown what consequences they will face if they fail to submit the changed proposals by the end of this week.

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Infants Charged Higher Family Health Insurance Rates!

Friday, February 26th, 2010

(Image: Pink Sherbet Photography under CC 3.0)

Over in North Carolina, health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield recently increased its health insurance rates. While rate hikes are common nowadays, this one is especially far reaching: it even hits babies!

Case in point: a nine-month-old infant’s family health insurance premium jumped by 55% on January 1st. According to BCBS, the higher premium is justified because infants use more health care services than older children. Now, they are classified in a higher-risk insurance pool.

This situation is absurd! Some may argue that many people with pre-existing conditions facing a dearth of affordable health insurance options brought the situation on themselves; that they neglected their health and had bad habits. While that can certainly be debated, a baby less than a year old has no choice in or responsibility for his or her health. Plus, this particular infant didn’t even have any conditions that would cost more to cover!

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North Carolina Family Health Insurance Rates To Rise

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

(Image: Ed Yourdon under CC 3.0)

As the second half of the bipartisan healthcare reform summit continues, a story out of North Carolina highlights why health insurance is such a vital issue.

The state’s Blue Cross Blue Shield was recently allowed to increase their health insurance rates by an average of 12%. Some policyholders have seen their premiums increase by 50% or more! North Carolina residents are in a tight bind, since Blue Cross Blue Shield makes up 97% of the individual health insurance market in the state.

Gender rating, an issue that has garnered attention during the summit, plays a role. BCBS of North Carolina had a standard policy of charging higher premiums to young women under a family health insurance plan once they turn 18, but cost increases have led to them lowering the age at which the higher premiums apply.

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Health Bill Confusion

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Things are looking bleak for the healthcare bill following the recent Massachusetts vote. Some political experts believe a large part of Americans in Massachusetts were voting against the health legislation led by President Obama. But other analysts believe voters are confused about the health bill, and President Obama agrees. He says once voters see the details of the health bill they will jump on board in support of it. “The American people will suddenly learn that this bill does things they like and doesn’t do things that people have been trying to say it does,” said President Obama. The President has been working without success to provide affordable student health insurance, family health coverage, so that every American will have the opportunity to invest in good health insurance plans within their financial reach. However, the President’s health bill has had a significant amount of congressional and now public resistance.

There are many misconceptions from voters about the health bill. For example, many insured Americans believe health reform will take away their freedom and force them to change their current health insurance plans even if they are happy with it. To date their is nothing in the health proposal that requires anyone to give up their existing health plan. So if an insured individual has a Blue Cross Blue Shield or United Health Care policy which they are completely happy with, they can keep it. Medicare shows how public-private partnerships can result in individuals choosing their own plans and their own physicians.

None of the proposed plans involve socializing medicine, creating a single payer system, or government run or owned hospitals. Many voters are under the impression that Obama’s health bill is heading in that direction. The bill intends to involve the government so the health insurance industry will have additional laws to follow. For example, under the bill it will be against the law for health insurance companies to deny anyone coverage even if they have pre-existing conditions. There will also be a limit on the amount of money insured individuals can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses.

Another confusing part of the bill is whether tax dollars would be used for abortions. Federal dollars for abortions are currently quite restricted, and would continue to be. Coverage for abortion services would remain only for rape, incest and to protect the mother’s life.

President Obama and other democratic allies have had a difficult time getting the bill to this point. The process was not handled well and the president has taken responsibility for not explaining the bill to voters. Regardless of who is to blame for the health bill confusion, the fact is, time is running out to make the bill clear to voters and pass it through legislation. With that said there is still no clear indication of opposition to health coverage from the public. President Obama was elected, after all, with the promise of change to the healthcare system.

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