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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

o cover future losses. Projected losses are based on actuarial assumptions and assume that BCBSM receives some rate increases in 2009.

Individual losses are affecting BCBSM reserves, measured by Risk Based Capital, which have declined 25 percent over the past three years.

"State law requires our individual products to be financially sustainable, but we will lose hundreds of millions on them this year," said Andrew Hetzel, BCBSM vice president for corporate communications. "Absent regulatory reform, we must turn to the rate setting process for relief and we must get new pricing soon."

- Preserving Product Subsidies and BCBSM's Nonprofit Mission -

Despite BCBSM's intention to raise rates on Group Conversion and Medicare Supplemental plans, these products will continue to be heavily subsidized to keep them more affordable for consumers. Medicare Supplemental will receive a projected subsidy between $110-$120 million in 2009 - bringing the total subsidy to nearly $1.2 billion since 2000. Group Conversion will receive a projected subsidy between $25-$30 million in 2009. These subsidies keep the monthly premiums in these products lower than they otherwise would be.

"Subsidies applied to our products for seniors and people losing their jobs keep coverage more affordable for those in need," Hetzel said. "Our financial stability allows us to continue to serve as Michigan's insurance safety net. But Blue Cross must do well financially to do good things for the people of Michigan."

- Cost Saving Measures -

In addition to the workforce reduction of between 400 and 1000 employees, the company's cost-saving measures for 2009 include:

    -- A salary reduction for senior executives
    -- A freeze on executive pay for the second time in the past three years
    -- A reduction in the number of executives employed at the company
    -- A free
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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
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