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Facing Large and Uncontrollable Financial Losses on Individual Policies, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Will Cut Up to 1000 Jobs in 2009, Reduce Spending and Seek Rate Increases on Individual Plans
Date:1/16/2009

DETROIT, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan announced a series of actions today to preserve its financial health by partly offsetting projected losses on its individual health plans that could exceed a cumulative total of $1 billion from 2009 through 2011.

Daniel J. Loepp, BCBSM president and CEO, this morning announced a workforce reduction of 400 employees of BCBSM and its Blue Care Network HMO subsidiary over the next 60 days - and subsequent efforts that could reduce up to 600 additional positions over the course of 2009 - as well as other initiatives to reduce costs on salaries and discretionary spending.

The company's actions also include requested average rate increases of 55 percent for Individual plans, 42 percent for Group Conversion plans and 32 percent for Medicare Supplemental plans.

"We should not ask our individual subscribers to pay more, without first demanding sacrifices from ourselves," Loepp told employees in an internal webcast. "Our goal is to move forward as a strong and financially stable nonprofit company, committed to fulfilling our mission and delivering the best value in health insurance products and services to our customers."

The projected financial losses are for individual products only. They are based on actuarial models that consider the combined effects of a recessionary economy driving thousands of people into Michigan's individual health insurance market, a broken regulatory system that requires BCBSM to cover virtually all of the state's costliest-to-insure individuals, and the increasing cost of health services, among other factors.

BCBSM lost about $140 million on individual policies in 2008 and projects to lose $320 million in 2009. The 2009 projection includes a $210 million underwriting loss on individual products and the required booking of $110 million in additional premium deficiency reserves t
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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
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