Blue Cross Blue Shield is losing money nationwide because of Obamacare

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Finding out what’s in it: Because of Obamacare, Blue Cross Blue Shield is losing money in states across the nation, forcing them to request rate increases of more than 50 to 65 percent.

If the federal government does approve these rate increases, expect most oif their customer base to vanish. If they don’t get these rate increases, expect them to abandon the market in those states.

So much for Obama’s promise that Obamacare would bend the cost curve downward, cutting rates by $2500 per family. Too bad no one told him his numbers were completely bogus and that Obamacare would increase everyone’s cost, and possibly destroy the health insurance industry. Oh wait… that was what those evil tea partiers and conservatives were saying.



  • NormD

    My family was on a Obamacare Blue Cross plan last year. What a piece of crap. None of our providers took it. And it wasn’t that much cheaper than competitors. When we analyzed plans the BC plan was like $1300/mo vs competitors at $1600/mo but the BC plan had higher Office visit costs and deductibles. We have made this trade-off (lower monthly costs with higher risk) many times before.

    Their provider database was also a mess. I needed to see an orthopedist. I called the first 15 such providers from their database. Some were not orthopedists (one was a psychiatrist god help me), some did not take BC, one guy had retired over a year before, but he was still listed as active on their database. He was very friendly and told me no orthopedist in my area would take BC, I should look 50-100 miles away.

    BC also caused us a bunch of grief because they sent us a letter stating that we had to convert our prescriptions to mail order or pay full fees. They sent that letter after we were on the plan for two months (great timing). It turned out some of the mail order prices were 2X the price at our local pharmacy. No one at BC could explain how mail order prices could be higher. Finally a guy in their IT department (long story) said that we didn’t really have to convert to mail order (despite the letter) we could just tell them we did not want to convert. He was right. Bastards.

    What I hate about Obamacare was that we could not just drop the plan and get another, we had to wait for an open enrollment period. We were stuck with the BC idiots for six months.

    Bob, as much as you would like to blame BC’s failure on Obamacare, they are one very screwed up organization. They are charging a lot of money, god knows where it is going.

  • wodun

    Someone is making tons of money off me. I have to pay everything out of pocket even though I have insurance.

    @ NormD, BC also caused us a bunch of grief because they sent us a letter stating that we had to convert our prescriptions to mail order or pay full fees.

    I have been seeing this a lot too. Insurance companies place limits on the amount of medicine you can get at one time, so that you can’t get discounts on larger orders. They limit where you can go to get medicine and often have to pay more than the alternatives.

    Bob, as much as you would like to blame BC’s failure on Obamacare, they are one very screwed up organization.

    That may be but what drives them to make the decisions they do? Government interference in the form of regulations creating perverse incentives and political regulators dictating treatment practices and business operations.

  • NormD: I have Blue Cross Blue Shield, but it is a federal health insurance plan (through my wife’s past employement with the federal government), not Obamacare Blue Cross Blue Shield. Thus, it functions reasonable well, with none of the problems you outline, though the rates and deductables are all going up at a fast rate because of Obamacare.

    All of the problems you experienced were the result of the non-competitive rules that Obamacare has created for the health insurance offered through the law. If the government runs things, the government will do it like it runs the motor vehicle department in every state, badly and inefficiently. It will create a complex set of bureaucratic rules that no company or customer can decipher, making for the kind of chaos you experienced.

    Thus, the problem was the law, not the company. Be aware of that.

  • NormD


    My kids and I had personal plans (not through work) for perhaps 10 years before Obamacare came along. These plans costs less and were accepted everywhere. And if one plan treated us poorly, we dropped them and chose another. I think we were mostly on Blue Shield. Obamacare came along and our plans were killed.

    No one despises Obamacare more than I do. That piece of crap legislation cost us thousands of extra dollars delivering sub-sub-standard service.

    That said, other plans that charged similar amounts as BC were accepted by our physicians. My kid’s doctors accepted hundreds of plans (I checked their website). They only said No to one plan: BC.

    If BC is taking in the same money as competitors but not delivering any service, something is uniquely wrong with that plan. The money is going somewhere. Also you cannot blame Obamacare for BC listing providers in their database as taking their plan when they don’t and haven’t for years. That is fraud.

    I worked for a while in a startup who serviced health plans. I became intimately familiar with several of the largest. They were all seriously screwed up, long before Obama every came along.

    I did learn that all plans are local, eg, BC of Nevada may be a top rate organization while BC of Colorado is garbage.

    The major problem throughout the healthcare industry is lack of competition., especially across international borders. I grew up in the semiconductor industry who in the early 1980s
    acted much like our current healthcare industry. We delivered a high cost product that often failed in the field and was delivered to our customers whenever we felt like. By the late 1980s we were being crushed by Japanese competitors who delivered a high quality product on a predictable schedule at a fair price. By the mid-1990’s American companies had either learned to compete or were dead. It was painful, but we did it.

    Even when US healthcare companies compete, they compete with other US healthcare companies, who are just as screwed up as they are. They need a competitor like the Japanese or SpaceX, an outsider, who takes a who new approach.

    I should have been able to drop BC the day after I found out no providers accepted them, but Obamacare mandated that I had to stick with them until open enrollment.

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