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Michigan Blues to refund $21 million to customers

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan plans to return more than $21 million in the form of premium waivers to more than 180,000 commercially insured individual health and dental plan members in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premium credits will be issued on November invoices, pending state insurance department approval. The credits are a response to lower than expected healthcare claims resulting from the disruption in the delivery of health and dental services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Cross said Monday.

“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,” said CEO Dan Loepp of the Michigan Blues, 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.”

Blue Cross and other health insurers have been refunding or issuing credits based on lower claims during the pandemic and hundreds of millions in profits. For-profit health insurance companies, including Anthem, Humana and UnitedHealth Group, have doubled profits during the second quarter.

However, the Affordable Care Act has capped profits and requires payers to issue rebates.

Earlier this month, the Health and Human Services Department issued a policy recommending payers speed up rebates to help consumers through the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

This year, Blue Cross has announced more than $100 million in previously announced refunds for health, dental and vision premiums for seniors, employer group customers and 2019 individual health plan subscribers.

Blue Cross also said it has invested more than $150 million in expanding benefits for members during the pandemic, including waiving cost sharing for COVID-19 treatment for fully insured members through December 31.

As the largest health insurer in Michigan, Blue Cross provides health benefits to more than 4.7 million members in the state as well as several hundred thousand in other states.



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