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Minnesota Employers Buck National Trend and Largely Remain Fully-Insured
Date:11/4/2008

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Leverages Market Dynamics With New Plan Offering Three Year Rate Guarantee, According to New Report from

HealthLeaders-InterStudy

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Nov. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that employers in Minnesota appear to be bucking the national trend of moving from fully insured to self-insured health plans. According to the latest Minnesota Health Plan Analysis, the state's largest insurers, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and Medica, have seen self-insured membership decrease slightly from January 2007 to January 2008 by 1 percent and 9 percent, respectively. At the same time, overall HMO enrollment in the state has grown from 401,693 in January 2006 to 435,179 as of January 2008, according to data from HealthLeaders-InterStudy.

"The growth of HMO business lines is contrary to what's happening nationwide where most national insurers are seeing self-insured membership drive their enrollment growth," said Don Mooradian, an analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "For instance, nationally, UnitedHealth Group saw its fully insured enrollment decline by 5 percent from 2005 to 2007, while its self-insured business rose by 11 percent."

According to the report, the market dynamics might be the reason Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota introduced SureBlue, the first plan of its kind offered by a Minnesota insurer because it offers a three-year rate guarantee to fully insured businesses with 51 to 249 employees. SureBlue promotes budget certainty for healthcare costs, which is acknowledged as one of the most unpredictable components of a business' financial plan. Introduced in mid-September, it will take effect January 2009 and is available to employers directly or through brokers.

"Other plans might copy the SureBlue model to stem the trend toward self-insurance. It and sim
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SOURCE HealthLeaders-InterStudy
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