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More than 300,000 Michigan residents join Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network during ACA open enrollment

Subsidy eligibility and plan pricing are key factors driving on-marketplace plan choice and enrollment decisions for Michigan consumers seeking individual coverage

DETROIT, April 2, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- At the close of the six-month ACA Marketplace open enrollment period, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and its HMO subsidiary, Blue Care Network, were selected by more than 300,000 Michigan consumers.

"In a highly competitive marketplace, Michigan consumers overwhelmingly chose Blue Cross for their health coverage – and we are ready to serve our customers' health needs well into the future," said BCBSM CEO Daniel J. Loepp.  "Our results speak to our efforts in 2010 and 2011 to listen to Michiganders about what they wanted most in ACA-compliant health plans.  The results affirm Blue Cross' strategic decisions to offer competitive pricing, statewide access to coverage and insurance plans that provide exceptional value in a subsidized individual market."

BCBSM will report final, confirmed numbers later this month once all enrollments are processed and tabulated by the federal government.  The results announced today are initial figures based on reporting by the federal government and BCBSM's records:

  • 180,000 members enrolled with BCBSM and BCN "on-Marketplace," meaning through Healthcare.gov.
  • 53,000 members enrolled "off-Marketplace," meaning directly through the companies.

"On October 1, when open enrollment began, Blue Cross was ready," said Terry Burke, BCBSM vice president for Individual Business.  "Our team handled 1.5 million phone calls, we provided online resources to help consumers select their plans and we innovated through text messaging and online capabilities to help people understand their subsidy eligibility."

"Michigan consumers had many choices," Burke said.  "Subsidy eligibility drove choice on the Marketplace, allowing more consumers to obtain affordable, quality coverage.  Our silver tier plans were among the most popular choice, accounting for a significant number of on-marketplace enrollees. In November, we were hopeful our customers would stick with us, and we're pleased to see both returning and new customers have the confidence that Blue Cross is the right health plan choice for themselves and their families."

Blue Cross' enrollment breakdown is as follows for the 2014 open enrollment period:

  • 56 percent of BCBSM and BCN members bought products on the Marketplace.
  • 88 percent of on-Marketplace enrollments were subsidy eligible.
  • 22 percent of enrollees are experiencing reductions of $500 to $1,000 in their monthly premiums.
  • 55 percent of total enrollees were new to BCBSM and BCN.

Members in Blue Cross plans leveraging subsidies were awarded an average monthly subsidy of $377. When applied to an average contract premium of $546, the member pays, on average, a $169 monthly premium for their health insurance plan.

"Of our new Blue Cross members who are subsidy eligible, 10 percent are enrolled in a plan where the subsidy covers their total premium," Burke said.  "These folks pay a $0 monthly premium for coverage that also caps their out-of-pocket costs.  As a company that has long championed affordable coverage, Blue Cross is thrilled that so many of our new customers are getting the most affordable coverage possible under the ACA." 

Throughout the six-month long enrollment period, BCBSM added staff and hours to address the unprecedented demand on phone lines during peak enrollment times, normally around the 15th of each month. Before open enrollment began on Oct. 1, 2013, BCBSM averaged 4,000 calls a week within the company's individual business division.  Leading into the last two weeks before the December deadline, BCBSM's call volume spiked to about 40,000 calls a week.  In March, BCBSM call centers handled about 26,000 calls a week.

"Throughout this process, our organization worked hard to make sure every question was answered and every member felt confident in their choice," Burke said. "We encourage those who have yet to enroll in an ACA plan to spend the time between now and November researching their options and determining their eligibility for financial assistance. Thousands of Michigan residents are paying low premiums for high-quality care, and we hope to see more make the same choice this fall."

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.4 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

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