Category: Health Insurance

Category: ACA and Policy, Government Programs, Health Insurance

The ACA Goes to Court, Part 237!  (Ok, I’m not really counting)

A little over 10 years ago, I was sitting in a tiny hotel room in Washington, D.C., waiting for a phone call from a friend who is a lobbyist for our Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It was Christmas Eve 2009, and we were awaiting the final vote of the U.S. Senate on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I remember very clearly thinking that there was nothing to stop the then-Democratic majority from passing the ACA. Certainly, they had put a ton of work, time and effort into the law. But — they put much less time into gaining the trust of the opposition.

I also remember thinking, “Are they really going to redirect 20% of the nation’s economy and create millions of new winners and losers on a straight party-line vote, without a single compromise to bring some of the opposition into the tent?”

Well, they did. And at that moment, a quote from the Roman Orator Cicero jumped into my head unbidden: “Endless monies form the sinews of endless warfare.” And it did. Warfare through the courts, apparently. Read more

Category: Cost of Healthcare, Health Insurance

WHERE DID YOUR MONEY GO? The Latest on How Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Spent Your Money

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about working here at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is the freedom we enjoy as a not-for-profit company. I spent some time in the for-profit, Fortune 500 world earlier in my career, and although I could probably have made more money there, I could never enjoy the freedom to act in the best interest of LOUISIANA that I have here.

In a typical publicly traded company, where everybody is hyper-focused on the stock price, constant consultation goes on between the company’s leaders and their “advisers” on Wall Street. In those situations, analysts and well-meaning outsiders have a huge amount of influence on the way companies behave, and at the end of the day, their primary responsibility is to their shareholders, not to their customers or employees. Read more

Category: ACA and Policy, Cost of Healthcare, Health Insurance

SHOW ME THE MONEY!

One of the more interesting things the Affordable Care Act did to the private health insurance business was to tell health insurance companies that the Feds were now in control of their profit margins. What does that mean?

Imagine you are the CEO of your own health insurance company. In fact, let’s call it Your Own Health Insurance Company, or YOHIC for short! How do you think you would feel if YOHIC collected $1 billion in premiums over a year, but only had to pay out $500 million in healthcare costs? Sounds like YOHIC is doing really well, turning a 50% profit. Does YOHIC get to keep the rest of the premiums for its own payroll and profits?

Since 2010, the answer to that question is a resounding NO! Read more

Category: ACA and Policy, Cost of Healthcare, Government Programs, Health Insurance

Turning 26 Is Like Landing on an Alien Planet

It’s the eve of your 26th birthday, you must take your first steps into this alien world alone. For 25 years, you’ve lived in safety on the Mother Ship, er, your parents’ health insurance plan. PPOs, HMOs, cost shares and deductibles weren’t even on your radar.

What should you (or your kid who is turning 26) do? Healthcare Economist Mike Bertaut explains your options. Read more

Category: Health Insurance

Guest Blog | Blue Cross’ Commitment to Service Across the State

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mike is out this week, and he’s given the Straight Talk floor to another Mike – Michael Tipton, that is. Michael is president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and head of Community Relations. This week, he’s sharing details on the great work he and his team are leading at Blue Cross. 

Hello, Straight Talkers! I’m delighted to be a guest blogger for Mike this week to share news about Blue Cross’ and its Foundation’s responses to COVID-19, particularly related to grant making and charitable investments.

Read more

Category: Health and Wellness, Health Insurance

Your Blue Cross Health Insurance Coverage in June 2020

As we made our way through March, April and May 2020, we saw the number of COVID-19 cases in Louisiana rising very quickly, especially before the governor issued his “stay-at-home” order on March 22.

In response to this unprecedented health crisis, health insurance companies like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana began to add, amend and alter their coverage to make it easier for people to get tested and treated for COVID-19. At Blue Cross, we also made changes to make it easier for people to get healthcare treatment while staying at home. Read more