Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana reports $17 million underwriting loss



Montanans have been complaining to the state auditor's office about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) raising health insurance premiums this year by as much as 43 percent. BCBSMT says it's a symptom of ever-rising health care costs. Its recent filing with the auditor's office seems to illustrate that point pretty well.

From a BCBSMT press release today:

BCBSMT reported a net underwriting loss of $17,636,567 in 2009, which accounts for less than 3 percent of the company’s revenue in 2009. This compares to a net underwriting loss of $819,843 in 2008.

Despite the underwriting loss in 2009, BCBSMT demonstrated a strong financial position and long-term strength, adding $4,316,531 from investment income to its surplus reserves in 2009 and reporting a total capital and surplus of $122,326,870 for 2009. In 2008 and 2009, BCBSMT management reduced the administrative costs at the company by over $5 million. According to the most current annual statements, BCBSMT has the lowest per member, per month administrative costs of the three Montana-based health insurance companies.

“We are a not-for-profit mutual benefit company, with the mission to provide the most affordable, highest quality health care for Montanans. When Montana’s economy suffers, our financial results at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana tend to reflect that as well,” said Sherry Cladouhos, chief executive officer of the company. “Increases in the overall costs of health care in Montana, and nationwide, demonstrate the need for meaningful health care reform that focuses on bending the cost curve of health care downward. Of course, we will continue to reduce our administrative costs and maintain a very high level of customer service. As well, we are committed to working with medical providers to help bend the cost curve of health care in Montana downward.”

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