Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) covers Michigan residents from one great lake to another. The company is the state's leading health benefits organization, serving some 4.4 million members residing in the state or employed by companies headquartered there, and 1.1 million more members in other states. The not-for-profit company's insurance offerings include traditional indemnity, PPO, and POS plans, in addition to its Blue Care Network HMO plans. It also provides consumer-directed Flexible Blue plans paired with health savings accounts (HSAs), as well as options for individual buyers and Medicare beneficiaries. The organization is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
BCBSM has t he largest network of doctors and hospitals in Michigan: 158 hospitals, nearly 30,000 doctors.
Along with its traditional health coverage options, BCBSM provides prescription drug plans to seniors through Medicare Part D, as well as a range of other senior care programs including HMO, PPO, and gap plans. The company also offers Blue Dental and Blue Vision plans, and its BCN Service subsidiary provides third-party administration of self-funded employer health plans. Its LifeSecure unit provides long-term care insurance throughout most of the country. In addition, BCBSM partners with the State of Michigan to provide children's insurance through the MIChild program.
The company's revenues increased by 5% in 2011 due to an increase in self-funded premium equivalent revenues.
BCBSM's net income grew by 18% in 2011 thanks to a decrease in the cost of services.
Like most US health plans, BCBSM has combated the rise of health care costs with a combination of rate hikes, new product offerings that shift the burden of cost to members, and programs that encourage healthy lifestyles and the use of lower-cost alternatives such as generic drugs.
In a proactive approach to try to fight off losses and gain more members, the company is also constantly evaluating its products to try to find ways to customize them to plan members' needs. The company studies data on plan usage from employer organizations and creates new programs based on that data. For instance, BCBSM added a Blue Elect Plus group HMO option in 2011; the new plan allows members to see a primary care physician as well as specialists without referrals. It also added the Simply Blue PPO to add an affordable option for small businesses.
Also in 2011 the firm acquired an interest in an online health exchange, Bloom Health, which will give employers the option of contributing funds towards their employees' chosen health plan option.
In another bid to grow in high-demand markets, in late 2011 BCBSM purchased a minority stake in the AmeriGroup Mercy Family of Companies, which offers Medicaid services in several states through units including AmeriHealth Mercy Health Plan and Keystone Mercy Health Plan. The AmeriHealth Mercy group is controlled by Pennsylvania firm Independence Blue Cross (IBC); together BCBSM and IBC plan to extend the venture's Medicaid operations into new markets, including Michigan. Medicaid enrollment levels are expected to grow under new health reform laws.
BCBSM is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
The non-profit health care organization was founded in 1939.
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