Blue Cross reveals new strategy to overcome cost challenges


Blue Cross reveals new strategy to overcome cost challenges

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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) has unveiled a new strategic "Future of Health Care" initiative aimed at addressing health care cost challenges in Minnesota and beyond.

With three strategic pillars, the initiative looks to spur innovation and engagement around new approaches to help build a more stable and sustainable health care market for Blue Cross members and Minnesotans statewide.

"Health care is at a crossroads," said Michael Guyette, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, announcing the new initiative. "Costs continue to rise, and the premium dollars coming in just aren't covering the dollars going out in payments to hospitals, physicians, and drug companies.

“Our members are stretched. Our employer partners are stretched. We need new ideas and approaches that can help members, employers and providers move forward together.

"Blue Cross is the leading health plan in Minnesota. We can't wait for someone else to step up. We need to lead – and that's what our Future of Health Care initiative is about. We're going to innovate to make the health care market more stable and sustainable for everyone, and this is how we are moving forward."

Earlier this year, Blue Cross reported rising health care costs had pushed the state's largest health care plan to record operating losses in 2016. With a negative operating margin, the state's largest non-profit health plan said it had been necessary to dip deeply into reserves to cover costs, despite 2016 premium increases in most segments.

In Minnesota's individual market segment, Blue Cross said it had absorbed unsustainably large losses, in addition to major cost pressures in public programs and heavy utilization by Minnesotans covered under the state's Medicaid program.

The losses reported by Blue Cross were not unique. Most of Minnesota's health plans reported dismal 2016 financial performance. Medicaid losses are a particular problem, with costs reaching critical levels. There's already been significant disruption and instability for Medicaid program enrollees.

"Minnesota health care costs are a flashing red light," Guyette said. "It's not sustainable."

"We need to innovate," he said. "Blue Cross has served Minnesotans for more than 80 years. We have nearly 3 million members looking to us for leadership."

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Healthcare, US