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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Health care reform will cost how much?!?

The health care reform package that passed this week promises to promote sweeping change in the health care industry and in the lives of health care consumers. But all that change is going to cost a lot of dollars. How big will the bill for health care reform be? It’s estimated to cost about $940 billion over the next 10 years. That includes:

  • $434 billion for expansion of Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Plans enrollment
  • $466 billion for subsidies to fund insurance for individuals and families up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level (which was $22,050 for a family of four in 2009)
  • $40 billion for small employer tax credits

Friday, March 26, 2010

Got an opinion about health care reform? Blues Perspectives blog wants your comments

President Obama’s signing of sweeping health care reforms into law is dominating the news cycles and fueling heated conversations across the country. Love it or hate it, the passage of reforms by the slimmest of margins after nearly a century of failed attempts represents history in the making.

But as would be expected, given our current political climate and the scale of this policy change, the move is stoking fierce resistance from some quarters.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What national health care reform means for Michigan Blues members

Today’s signing of health care reform legislation by President Barack Obama has many Blues members asking what the changes mean for them. While Blue Cross Blue Shield health policy staff continues to review the impact of what happened today, here is information that may be of help to BCBSM members.

“Get Moving U.P.” revs up winter activity of 500 in Blue Cross and WELCUP’s challenge

They could have just hibernated like some Upper Peninsula critters. Instead, more than 500 U.P. folks took on or turned up their winter activities. Payoffs? Healthier lifestyles. More energy. Weight loss. All in a six-week winter fitness challenge. It’s another activity the Michigan Blues sponsors, with partners such as the Wellness Council of the U.P., to help lead all Michiganders to a healthier future.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Passage of national health care reform shouldn’t stall Michigan reform efforts

Sunday’s historic vote by the U.S. House to approve health care reform means an end to the widespread insurance industry practice of denying coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions.

That’s essentially the same thing Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has long sought as part of our push to enact individual health insurance market reforms in Michigan.

Health care reform will revolutionize insurance industry – but less so for Michigan Blues

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has consistently supported health care reform that expands access to care, improves quality and patient safety, and reins in costs.

The New York Times on Sunday published a good summary of what the historic U.S. House vote to approve health care reform means for the various players in the industry. The story concludes the new laws will be a financial boon for the nation’s hospitals and drug makers while presenting myriad new challenges for the mostly for-profit insurance industry:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Need help sticking to personal health goals? Blues wellness programs can help

Most of us know how to live healthier lives, but it’s another story to actually discipline ourselves to do it. Many of the chronic health conditions affecting people -- and wreaking financial havoc on the health care system -- can be controlled by diet, exercise and healthier lifestyle habits. Sometimes, we just need some support and guidance to make it happen.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Blues team up to cover uninsured children in Michigan

Helping residents get access to health care is an important part of the Blues’ social mission. That’s why we’re proud to participate with the Michigan Department of Community Health in the MIChild program for kids.

The program provides health and dental coverage to children of working families for just $10 a month. Children may qualify if they:
  • Are legal residents of Michigan
  • Are younger than age 19
  • Don’t have other health care coverage
  • Are not married
  • Meet certain financial guidelines

The $10 monthly premium per family provides complete coverage for things like dental exams and routine checkups, well-baby care and child care visits, emergency care, prescription drugs, shots and vision and hearing care. There are no other costs so long as you see your health plan’s doctors.

If you know a child in Michigan who lacks health insurance coverage, tell his or her parents or guardians about MIChild. Or visit the state’s MIChild Web site for more information or to enroll.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The cost of care: navigating an uncertain health care landscape

All across the country, people are mystified by the cost of care. Why have health care costs soared so dramatically over the past 50 years? What elements contribute to the cost of care? What is being done to turn the situation around?

While Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan doesn’t have all the answers, we are committed to exploring what can be done to stem the tide of rising health care costs.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Michigan Blues ‘prepared to contribute to a national solution for health reform, CEO Dan Loepp says

You may have heard Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s name come up in recent media stories about health insurers raising premiums for individual subscribers. The news accounts followed a report from the Obama administration that positioned the trend as a key target for health care reform efforts.

Ironically, we couldn’t agree more with the premise of that report – despite being unfairly lumped with the rest of the insurance industry.

In Wednesday’s Detroit News, Blues President and CEO Daniel J. Loepp writes that the Michigan Blues are already mirroring many of the practices that reform advocates want health insurers to adopt:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Patient-centered medical home: Funny name, great concept

With health care reform discussions continuing in our nation’s capital, it’s good to know that Blue Cross Blue Shield is actually doing something right now to fix our broken health care system.

One way we’re doing it is through our patient-centered medical home program, commonly called PCMH. This somewhat funny-sounding term may be unfamiliar to you, so here is some quick background.

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