Regarding the Oct. 2 Point of View “Why Blue Cross chose to stay”: Blue Cross Blue Shield professed altruism for extending ACA coverage another year despite losses, very considerately warns about a possible rash of enrollment problems as it picks up 260,000 customers from other companies who bailed, and finally out of neighborly love, cautioned about premium increases beyond 2017. Why, bless its pure little nonprofit heart!
BCBS has long been our state’s biggest player. Its ACA “risk pool” will soon grow even bigger, meaning BCBS will be spreading risk over a gargantuan customer base.
A friend who spent his career in the insurance industry says any time his company introduced a new product (dental care plan, for example) its underwriters predicted a period of “adverse selection” for at least two years following the launch. This fancy term means the industry always expects claims to surge during initial years as folks without previous access to good care can finally get themselves healthy.
Three years in, 600,000 ACA customers should be way healthier than when they first enrolled. Will the underwriters adjust accordingly, or will 2018 see BCBS raise premiums, cut customer benefits and squeeze health care providers?