Michigan: Still no indy market rate hikes, but BCBS is crowing about their low Sm. Group increase...

Hat Tip To: 
Chris Savage

Hmmmm...I'm still waiting for the Michigan Dept. of Insurance to publicly post the 2017 requested rate hikes (they aren't due until June 20th, apparently), but in the meantime, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (the largest insurer in the state) decided to issue a press release patting themselves on the back for keeping their small business average rate hike down to 2.9%:

DETROIT, June 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In contrast to national trends, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan today announced a comparatively small statewide average rate increase of 2.9 percent for small group employers in 2017, pending state regulatory approval. This follows rate reductions that Blue Cross delivered to small employer group customers that renewed during the second half of 2015.

Health insurance rate moderation for small employers in Michigan is a result of Blue Cross' emphasis on delivering more cost-efficient health practices to the market and successful collaboration between physicians and hospitals across the state to provide an enhanced quality of care for Blue Cross and Blue Care Network members.

"Maintaining reasonable costs for our customer groups is a top priority for Blue Cross, as more than 225,000 of our members receive health care coverage through small business employers," said John Dunn, vice president for Middle and Small Group Business at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. "Blue Cross strives to offer our business customers options they can afford in order to remain competitive and provide high quality health coverage to their workforce."

This is good news, seriously. For comparison, last year BCBSMI raised rates just 1.7% on the small group market (and their Blue Care Network division lowered them by 1.6%); 2.9% is higher, but not bad at all.

The bigger concern, of course, is the individual market. Again, for comparison, last year BCBSMI raised rates an average of 11.4% (9.7% for BCN) on the indy market...and given how ugly some of the requested hikes look in many other states so far, I'm a little jumpy about the fact that they didn't mention the individual market at all in this press release...