BCBSRI Withdraws Rate Filing

(Providence, RI, 7.3.2009)

Earlier today, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) notified the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner (OHIC) that it will withdraw its rate factors filing for large group and small group subscription rates. The company is doing so based on a clarification that it received from Health Insurance Commissioner Christopher F. Koller with respect to how rates will be developed in the future.

Rather than freezing rates, the company will be allowed to make adjustments that are in line with the rate factors that were previously approved by the OHIC to go into effect later this year. In other words, large group customers will receive an average increase of 9 percent; small group customers will receive an average increase of 7 percent.

"It's important to note that these rates are inadequate and will create a financial loss of more than $30 million for our company over the next six months," said James E. Purcell, BCBSRI's president and CEO. "This shortfall cannot go unaddressed, especially in light of rising medical costs and increased utilization of services, which are outpacing our rates. As a result, we will have no choice but to seek another increase before the end of the year, which underscores the urgency of reforming the current healthcare system."

BCBSRI remains committed to improving quality, reducing waste, improving health outcomes, and, ultimately moderating the rise in healthcare costs.

"We fully understand that many of us, individuals and businesses alike, are suffering as a result of the current economic recession. Yet, it is important to underscore that our original request was well documented and justified, and it was made in the interest of ensuring that BCBSRI is here to serve Rhode Islanders for years to come," said Mr. Purcell.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state's leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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