Blue Cross Blue Shield To Put The Squeeze On Direct Payers

BCBS Happy New Year direct payers, some of you can look forward to double-digit rate hikes in 2012. Once again Blue Cross Blue Shield direct payers (who have no other choice in Rhode Island) are being asked to supplement the benefits afforded to the groups with bargaining power and clout. According to an article on A-2 of today’s Providence Journal, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island is seeking an average 4.4% rate hike.

While the average increase is 4.4 percent, some of the plans would see double-digit decreases [Would love to see comprehensive list of these subscribers. BC]  while some would get hit with double-digit increases. A hearing on the proposed increase will be held Tuesday, January 17. Sessions will be held at 9am and 6:30pm at the office of the state Public Utilities Commission, 89 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick. Written comments may be mailed to Hearing Officer, Herbert W. Olson, Esq., c/o Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner, 1511 Pontiac Ave., Building #69-1, Cranston, R.I. 02920. All written submissions must be received no later than January 17 at 9am.

If BCBSRI is going to claim another losing year just keep in mind that CEO Peter Andruszkiewicz makes $600,000 a year in salary alone. Sounds kind of high for someone not good at his job. Many if not most direct payers (that’s about 14,000 Rhode Islanders right now) are self-employed and working like mad just to stay afloat; they may find it difficult to take time off on a weekday to listen to insurance company lawyers speaking very slowly about their rising costs. If you can’t get to one of the two sessions at least contact the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner at

And if State Health Commissioner Christopher F. Koller intends to declare victory after he negotiates the double-digit rate increase down to single, then maybe he should treat himself to a quick vacation south of the border for a refresher course of ‘Haggling 101’. (Hint: Start with a request for a rate reduction and then agree to compromise at 0%.)

4 thoughts on “Blue Cross Blue Shield To Put The Squeeze On Direct Payers”

  1. I am in the group who will, no doubt, have to pay a 17.3% increase. I have the ‘cheapest’ plan, with a $5000 deductible and of course, no co-pays. In essence it is like having NO insurance at all. I have to pay all my medical bills and my monthly Blue Cross premium. I have taken advantage of Blue Cross’s AccessBlue $82 a month discount, as I am truly below the poverty level. My medical costs for the past 2 years have been running over $5000 a year.

  2. I agree with you completely. This is not how we should be delivering health care at all.

  3. The problem is not “groups with bargaining power and clout”. The problem is that BC/BS is a company who’s only concern is showing a profit margin to investors. Your comment only serves to divide the people who all pay far to much for health insurance.

  4. We ran into this problem with BCBSRI a while back. My wife and I are both self employed and their monthly premiums for a healthy young couple wanting to get pregnant was more money than our monthly rent… something wrong with this picture. We searched out a Medi-Share program as an alternative and while it might not be traditional insurance, it costs roughly a fourth of the premium that BCBSRI was requiring. The fact that the CEO makes as much as he does and then to hear from Doctors how unfair BCBSRI is when it comes to compensation for services rendered… sometimes a 1/3 of what the doctor’s bill out… and then to see them build this large new corporate tower only to abandon their perfectly adequate previous office space… The hikes in insurance rates whether they be group plans or direct pay is disgusting. I will never give BCBSRI a penny of my money as they seem to be financially raping their customers and their caregivers.

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