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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:

“We are nonprofit,” Loepp writes. “We never reject anyone for having a pre-existing condition. We charge the same premium regardless of health condition. We self-limit our margins – earning just one-tenth of 1 percent margin during the past 20 years. Our rates are closely regulated by the state. Our finances are transparent to regulators and the public.

“Blue Cross Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan works hand-in-hand with the government to promote access to health care.


“What’s wrong in Michigan is that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is the only health insurance company in the state that operates its business under the guidelines I’ve described. This fact has been ignored by Washington, but it’s the reason our premiums are rising in the individual market.”

Loepp goes on to describe Michigan’s “broken system” of regulating health insurers and its debilitating effect on the Blues’ underwriting business. You can read the entire column here.

We’ve written here before about the Blues’ support for health reform. You can also check out a letter Loepp sent to U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius responding to the department’s report.

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