Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan intends to give more than 180,000 individual policyholders a 30-percent credit on their health premiums this fall.
The $21 million in premium credits the health insurer will apply to November invoices for individual health and dental policies result from lower medical claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, which for several weeks in the spring left care providers unable to perform nonessential procedures and surgeries.
The premium credits — which are pending regulatory approval — include Blue Care Network, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s HMO subsidiary.
“Many people in Michigan are struggling with the economic impacts of the pandemic, so we’re very pleased to provide a credit that will reduce November premiums by 30 percent for our individual plan members,” Blue Cross Blue Shield President and CEO Daniel Loepp said in a statement. “It’s critical for people to maintain their health insurance coverage, especially during a pandemic, and Blue Cross is doing what we can to help.”
Since many individual policyholders receive federal tax subsidies to help pay their premiums, Blue Cross Blue Shield worked with federal and state regulators to ensure the premium credits would not interfere with the assistance or increase their federal tax liability. Recent guidance from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services allowed the insurer to provide premium credits “fully confident that subscribers would not be negatively affected,” the company said.
Many health insurers have provided premium credits to policyholders during the pandemic after experiencing lower medical claims.
Blue Cross Blue Shield in May decided to give fully insured employers in the small group market who have 50 or fewer employees a 30-percent premium credit that was applied to July invoices.
Grand Rapids-based Priority Health applied a 15-percent reduction to June and July premium bills for small businesses with two to 50 employees, and for individual policyholders enrolled in the MyPriority health plan.