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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Shares Position on the Division of Insurance Small Group Rate Decision

CONTACT: Jay McQuaide
(617) 246-2365
Jay.McQuaide@bcbsma.com

BOSTON — April 1, 2010 — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is working with our members, physicians, hospitals, employers, and the Commonwealth in efforts to reduce rising health care costs which, we realize, are a significant burden on all of us.

We agree with the many government reports which show the best way to moderate premium increases is by addressing the underlying cost of medical care which accounts for 90% of premiums. We have been a national leader in efforts to reform the way we pay for health care services, often cited as the most effective solution to containing costs.

The premium rates we filed with the state reflect the expected medical costs of insuring the individuals and small group members who are purchasing health plans in April, May, and June. We are both surprised and disappointed that today's disapproval is not supported by any actuarial data or opinion on the soundness of our rates.

Our goal is to make any necessary rate adjustments with the least possible disruption for our members and customers. Affected individual members and small group customers will be notified and any potential adjustments to their premium rates will be credited on a future invoice once we have a final resolution on this issue with the Division of Insurance.

We share concerns about the current rate of premium increases, but arbitrary government price controls will not solve the problem and will likely cause unintended harmful consequences. The Special Payment Reform Commission led the way for common sense solutions and we hope those will be adopted soon.

Solving this problem will require us to make tough choices, just as was done in 2006 when all of the stakeholders in Massachusetts health care committed to the task of reform. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is ready and willing to continue that constructive effort and we welcome the energy of any one or any group committed to the goal of a meaningful and sustainable solution to rising health care costs.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts ( http://www.bluecrossma.com ) was founded 73 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to more than 3 million members, 2.5 million in Massachusetts. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care consumers and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

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