; Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Members Benefiting From Higher Portion Of Premiums Spent On Medical Care
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Press Release

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Members Benefiting From Higher Portion Of Premiums Spent On Medical Care

Health plan exceeds government minimums by quarter billion dollars

May 30, 2012

ROCHESTER - Excellus BlueCross BlueShield (BCBS) spent $255 million more on hospital and physician services, prescriptions and other medical benefits for its commercial members than federal and state standards required in 2011, under the provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, officials reported today.

“We seek to provide competitive, affordable access to coverage in our markets that maximize benefits for our customers,” said Christopher Booth, chief operating officer for the health plan and its CEO-elect for 2013. “By exceeding the standards, it means our members collectively got more in medical benefits throughout the year than the minimum amounts set by federal and state governments.”

Federal standards, as they apply to New York state commercial insurance customers, set the minimum level of benefits to be 82 percent of premium revenues in the individual direct pay market along with small groups and 85 percent for large groups. Excellus BCBS reports that it spent 93.4 percent of premium revenues on medical benefits for its individual direct pay membership, 90.9 percent for small groups and 90.9 percent for large groups.

Converting the percentage differences to dollars means that the health plan exceeded the standards of medical benefit payments on behalf of its membership by $255 million.

Federal officials have estimated that hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds will be owed by other health plans throughout the country, even in states where the minimum standards are lower than those in New York.

While exceeding the standards, Excellus BCBS is required to send out notices to members reporting that no refunds will be made. Those notifications will take place later this year.

About Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit https://www.excellusbcbs.com.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 100 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.