California Health Plans Paying More for Medical Services in Recession
California health insurers are paying out more to cover medical expenses during the ongoing recession, according to recent earnings reports, Payers and Providers reports.
Over the past year, the state's largest health plans have seen an overall rise in medical cost ratios for the national market. California residents make up a significant portion of these plans' membership.
Although Anthem Blue Cross reported that its medical cost ratios declined nationwide during the second quarter of 2009, the insurer said its costs rose significantly in California.
Observers say the cost spike might have stemmed from the state's relatively high unemployment rate.
Others suggest that the rising costs could be attributed to:
- Concerns about future unemployment and resulting insurance coverage losses;
- Increased COBRA enrollment; and
- Treatment for the H1N1 influenza.
Cost Curbing, Concerns
To counteract rising medical cost ratios, some insurers have said they are pursuing cost-savings measures.
The insurers' cost-savings plans have worried some consumer advocates, who say the companies might shift costs to patients (Payers and Providers, 8/20).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.