Preparing to Serve Our Members In 2018
A Message from Our President
Our industry remains in the spotlight. It's because health care matters in the lives of those we serve every day. As the debate on health care reform continues, one thing remains constant: our commitment to expanding access to quality, affordable health insurance.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana has a 75-year track record of service to Montanans. That longevity is a result of careful stewardship and a steady navigation through hard times. Our approach is the same as it has been the past seven decades: to protect our members by providing the security that we will be here for them when they need it most for another 75 years and beyond. To do that, we must be able to cover our members' health care needs while saving for their future needs.
At this time each year, we enter our peak period of preparing to sell, renew and implement health insurance products for employers, Medicare recipients and individual customers. It's a period full of activity, and it can be hard to follow and understand it all.
We are a leader in Montana, so it's likely that people will notice our activities. While the spotlight may focus on the specific actions we take in the individual market, let's not lose sight of all the things we are doing to make the health care system work better for our members:
- We're refreshing our product offerings with new solutions to help existing and prospective members manage their health and wellness. We submit our products and rates to appropriate regulatory agencies each year, and we communicate immediate and potential changes to our customers so they have enough time to understand their coverage options and what might change for them.
- We're readying our operations to sell those products and take care of our members. At least 65% of our business is effective as of Jan. 1 each year, and we're focused on preparing ourselves for this peak period of activity. We are also investing in technology and operational models that will create a more personalized experience based on unique customer needs.
- We're advocating for consumers by negotiating contracts with doctors, hospitals and pharmacies that focus on results and quality medical practices. No other insurer contracts with more providers in our state. We're also putting important data directly in the hands of doctors to help them make the best possible treatment and business decisions.
- We're advocating at the federal and state level for those market factors needed to stabilize premiums for the long term and create choice and innovation.
As we navigate all of these moving parts and routine business cycles, we will continue to do everything in our power to stand with our members and our communities. This commitment is who we are as a company, and it is why we are proud to serve you as our customer.
President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana
Aug. 01, 2017
Health Care is Complicated; We're Here to Help
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana has filed proposed rates and products in the individual marketplace with the Department of Insurance in the hopes of continuing to offer quality, affordable coverage to Montanans in 2018.
On August 1, the federal government released the rates from insurers across the country who submitted 2018 products in the individual insurance market. While this may be the subject of conversation and media attention, it's important to keep a few things in mind:
- Rate submission and review is an annual process and necessary to participate in the individual marketplace.
- Rates should be viewed in the context of, or include, any premium assistance for those who may receive subsidies. Actual out-of-pocket costs will differ based on the financial assistance consumers receive from the government to offset their total monthly premium cost.
- There is still a lot of uncertainty on the rules and regulations of the individual market for 2018. Our 2018 product pricing reflects that uncertainty and the associated risks that exist within this marketplace. We will continue to work with legislators, regulators and other stakeholders toward getting the necessary certainty around issues like the continued funding of cost-sharing reductions ("CSRs") and mechanisms that encourage broad enrollment and continuous coverage.
- Our rates also account for keeping pace with escalating health care costs and the growing use of that care. If we want to control premiums, then we must focus on the cost of care and the amount of care being used.
- We do not take price increases lightly. We know that every dollar matters for Montanans and we are doing everything possible to hold down costs. We believe we have taken the prudent approach to accurately reflect the real risk and to enable us to continue offering sustainable products for the long-term.
It is important to note that while we have submitted rates, our level of participation has not yet been finalized. If we receive regulatory certainty within an acceptable time frame we will review and, where appropriate, adjust our rates if we have time.
Please continue to visit this page for updates to our 2018 products and services in the individual marketplace, as well as through employer and Medicare coverage.