Blue Shield of California Dropped From High-Risk Health Insurance Pool
State officials have not renewed a contract with Blue Shield of California to participate in the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program because the company charged substantially higher premiums than other private insurers in the program, the Los Angeles Times reports.
MRMIP is the state's high-risk health insurance pool.
Road to Ousting
MRMIP officials say they warned Blue Shield last year to address concerns related to the company's high premiums.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers recently reported to the MRMIP board that Blue Shield's rates continue to surpass those of the program's other private insurers. The report noted that Blue Shield's proposed 2010 rates for single subscribers would have been 1.5 to three times higher than those of other plans.
Blue Shield declined to comment on its removal from the program.
The company will continue providing MRMIP coverage until the new policies take effect Jan. 1, 2010. Officials say current Blue Shield enrollees then will be able to remain in MRMIP with other insurers.
Similar Concerns Over HIPAA Insurance Premiums
Blue Shield's high MRMIP premiums also have driven up costs for coverage available through the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Under HIPAA, insurers must offer coverage to individuals who no longer qualify for COBRA.
The Department of Managed Health Care currently is investigating Blue Shield's high costs for coverage under HIPAA.
The company said it will align its HIPAA premiums with those of other insurers for the coming year (Girion, Los Angeles Times, 10/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.