Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans posted an overall 18.2% decline in operating earnings in 2007 while revenue rose 7.4%, according to a financial analysis by the Sherlock Co., a healthcare research and consulting firm.
Insured membership among the Blues fell by 1.4% to 51.5 million, and operating margins declined by 1 percentage point to 3.3% in 2007 from the prior year. Of the 39 Blues insurers nationwide, six showed improved operating margins of at least 1 percentage point while nine had worsening operating margins of at least 3 percentage points, the Philadelphia-based Sherlock Co. reported.
The Blues median premium-rate increase was 5.4% as median medical costs per member rose by 6.4%. Administrative costs increased at a median rate of 7.6% per member, according to the analysis, which used financial statements from individual Blues plans.
Officials at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association did not respond to a request for comment by deadline. The association stopped providing aggregate Blues financial information in 2006. -- by Rebecca Vesely