Fair Blue Cross rates

March 18, 2010 

Your March 2 article reporting on the $107 million profit made by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina in 2009, coupled with the assertion that BC/BS was trying to "pad its profits" for 2010 by selectively applying large rate increases to some of its customers, is certain to generate criticism of BC/BS and the unfairness of health insurance rates.

As to the $107 million profit, with the 3.7 million BC/BS insureds reported in the article, the company made an average profit of $29 per insured.

Stated another way, if all BC/BS profits were eliminated, a BC/BS customer, on average, would see a reduction in monthly premium of less than $2.50. It can be seen that it is not the "high profits" of the insurance companies that are responsible for high premiums.

As to the large rate increases experienced by some BC/BS customers, the company is attempting to make the premiums paid by those customers (as a group) reflect the level of claims of those customers (as a group). If their premiums are not brought up to an adequate level, then all the rest of the BC/BS customers will have to pay higher premiums to support the claims of the group. The BC/BS approach seems more fair.

Don Nesbitt


The writer, a Blue Cross customer, worked in the health insurance industry before retiring.

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