Health Care Service Corp. is providing premium credits worth roughly $240 million to fully insured employer customers.
The Chicago-based insurer is among those that have benefited from a COVID-fueled decline in nonemergency medical care during the pandemic. The financial relief for customers comes several months after rivals, such as Anthem and UnitedHealth Group, pledged to give customers—and doctors in some cases—a share of the savings through premium credits and other discounts.
HCSC, which owns Blue Cross & Blue Shield plans in states including Illinois, Texas, Montana, Oklahoma and New Mexico, raked in $2.6 billion in net income in the first half of the year, up 14.5% from the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, revenue rose 8.5% to $21.3 billion. The decline in medical claims during the COVID-19 crisis offset an increase in benefits and administrative expenses driven by growth in Medicaid and group membership, the insurer told Modern Healthcare last month.
In addition to $240 million in premium credits, HCSC has adjusted 2021 individual and group rates to deliver more than $305 million in savings, the company said in a statement today. Including waiving cost sharing for telehealth services, as well as COVID-19 testing and treatment, it has provided more than $930 million in financial relief during the pandemic, the statement says.
"Our customers trust us to be good stewards of their premium dollars and ensure they have access to affordable, high-quality care," CEO Maurice Smith said in the statement. "As part of our commitment, we are always seeking ways to support both the physical and financial health of our members during this unprecedented public health emergency."
HCSC also recently issued medical-loss ratio rebates totaling $455 million to individuals and small groups, as required under the Affordable Care Act, according to the statement. The mechanism limits profits by requiring insurers to spend a certain %age of premium dollars on medical care and quality improvement. This year's rebates are based on financial data from before COVID-19.
"There continues to be uncertainty concerning health care spending and the impact of deferred care for the remainder of the year," HCSC says in the statement. "The company will continue to closely monitor the evolving health pandemic and health care claim trends to determine how best to support customers, communities, and health care delivery partners."
This story first appeared in Crain's Chicago Business.