Good news out of Michigan

It’s nice to hear a positive cost-containment story. Check out this article by the president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan:

Over the past decade, as Michigan’s economy struggled and restructured, something truly remarkable began taking shape here that should have the country talking about us in a positive way.

In September 2009, the White House published a report that Michigan’s rate of growth in family health insurance premiums was the lowest among the 50 states over the prior 10 years.

Why do people with health coverage in Michigan fare better than those in other states when it comes to premium affordability? Understanding the answers should help policymakers construct a post-reform system that works for consumers.

Michigan consumers benefit from a primarily nonprofit system of hospitals and insurers with one major insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, in the lead. A little more than 40 percent of Michiganians are covered by the Blues.

Blue Cross’ market size delivers significant value to Michigan’s health care system. It allows the Blues to impact nearly every major driver of health care costs in a positive way for Michigan’s people. And the Blues’ structure as a regulated, community-centered organization ensures accountability and transparency, further benefiting consumers.

This year, for the fourth straight year, BCBSM expects its health care cost trend to reflect a lower rate of increase than national benchmarks established by the Milliman Medical Index [sic]. In 2009, for example, BCBSM’s cost trends were two percentage points lower than the Milliman Index. This outcome saves Michigan health care consumers billions of dollars over time. It’s the result of Blue Cross leveraging its market size to benefit consumers, and the health system as a whole.