What We're Reading: BCBSMN Retreating From Individual Market in 2017

What we're reading, June 27, 2016: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is leaving the individual market; out-of-pocket costs for hospital visits grew 37% in 5 years; and a growing number of millennials are becoming caregivers for loved ones.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is dropping individual plans in 2017. According to Kaiser Health News, the largest insurer in Minnesota reported a loss of $265 million from the individual market plans in 2015 and it is projecting a total loss of more than $500 million over 3 years. A subsidiary of the company, Blue Plus, will continue to offer plans on the individual market, but Blue Plus only has about 13,000 members. The move could leave the insurer a re-entrance option.

Out-of-pocket hospital visits grew 37% from 2009 to 2013, and it will likely continue to rise. Evidence suggests employers are keeping premium down through the use of high-deductible health plans, which has increased the amount employees pay out of pocket when receiving services, according to Bloomberg. Out-of-pocket costs grew faster than insurance premiums during the study period. Unfortunately, surveys have shown that patients don’t fully understand what out-of-pocket costs, deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments are.

A growing number of millennials are becoming caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Huffington Post has highlighted 2 stories from millennials who are on the frontlines of caregiving. The average millennial caregiver is approximately 27 years old, and overall one-fourth of all caregivers in the United States is between the ages of 18 and 30. The article also highlights the growing impact of Alzheimer’s on communities of color.