Group finds BCBS health insurance plans kept large surpluses while raising premiums

In continuing coverage, the Washington Post (7/23, Aizenman) reports, “Nonprofit health insurers may be setting aside unnecessarily large surpluses even as some of them continue to raise premiums, according to an analysis by” Consumers Union, “a consumer rights group,” which “found that seven of 10 Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates examined had amassed surpluses more than three times the level regulators deemed necessary for them to remain solvent.” The Post explains that “an insurance plan’s surplus is essentially the revenue it raises from premiums and investments minus expenses such as the cost of paying medical claims. Companies must maintain enough surplus to protect them from unexpected expenses and losses,” yet, “how much surplus is too much is a matter of some debate.” The Wall Street Journal (7/23, Gerencher) also covered the story.