WEST MICHIGAN — Small business clients of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan can expect an average 7.5 percent premium increase for 2013 policy renewals.
Clients of Blue Care Network, the HMO subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield, will pay an average of 5.1 percent more for health coverage beginning in January, the insurer said today.
The increases represent a continued moderation in the growth of health care costs, a trend Blue Cross Blue Shield attributes to the introduction of more cost-effective products, wellness initiatives and working with doctors and hospital to improve quality. Blue Cross Blue Shield premium increases for quarterly policy renewals have averaged in the single digits for a year now.
“We’re seeing results from introducing innovative health plans to our customers with a focus on cost savings and member health,” said John Dunn, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s vice president for middle and small group business.
Blue Cross says quality improvements among care providers generated $232.8 million in cost savings for four common medical procedures over three years. Efforts such as working with physician practices to integrate the patient-centered medical home model have led to lower hospital admissions and ER visits among patients in those practices.
Health insurance premiums have been moderating nationally as well.
A report last week by global human resources consulting firm AON Hewitt pegged the average increase across the country at 6.3 percent, pushing the cost of a policy to $11,188 per employee.
In West Michigan, the average family health plans in 2012 cost $12,312 across all product lines, according to an annual cost survey conducted by The Employers Association and the Alliance for Health.