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INSURANCE DEPARTMENT APPROVES HIGHER HEALTH INSURANCE RATES

 INSURANCE DEPARTMENT APPROVES HIGHER HEALTH INSURANCE RATES
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The state Insurance Department today approved health insurance rate increases for three regional Blue Cross plans and the statewide Pennsylvania Blue Shield.
 Higher rates for health insurance were approved for Capital Blue Cross, based in Harrisburg; Independence Blue Cross, based in Philadelphia; Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania, based in Pittsburgh; and Pennsylvania Blue Shield.
 The department had approved increased rates for Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania in August.
 Insurance Commissioner Constance B. Foster said the increases were caused by higher medical costs that are exceeding the rate of inflation and increases in the number of claims for health care benefits.
 "The Insurance Department conducted a thorough and careful review of the rate filings and public hearings before approving the new rates," Foster said. "Under the law, the department must approve a rate that is not excessive, unfairly discriminatory or inadequate."
 The new rates are effective Jan. 1.
 Rate adjustments approved were:
 CAPITAL BLUE CROSS
 -- An average 10 percent increase ($7.1 million) for 167,000 subscribers covered by 65-Special, which supplements Medicare. Monthly rates of $35.55 for subsidized coverage and $38.05 for unsubsidized coverage will go to $39.10 and $41.60, respectively. The company had requested a 12.5 percent increase.
 -- An average 8 percent increase for Non-Group subscribers and a 16.6 percent increase for students who subscribe to the basic hospitalization program. The increases will affect 37,000 subscribers and produce $3.2 million annually. The company had requested an 8 percent increase for Non-Group and a 16.6 percent increase for students in the basic hospitalization program.
 -- An average 51.2 percent increase ($3.7 million annually) for 28,000 Non-Group Major Medical subscribers. Non-Group Major Medical provides coverage for prescription drugs, additional physician services and hospital care above the basic hospitalization coverage. The company had requested a 60.6 percent increase.
 -- A 26.6 percent increase ($5.2 million annually) for the 65- Extended program, which provides 65-Special subscribers with additional coverage for prescription drugs, private duty nursing, durable medical equipment and some hospital charges. Monthly rates will increase from $37.90 to $48. The company had requested a 27.18 percent increase.
 -- A 90 percent increase for the 65-Limited program, which provides additional benefits beyond those provided by 65-Special for private duty nursing, durable medical equipment and some hospital charges. Monthly rates will increase from $1.50 to $2.85. The company had requested a 143 percent increase.
 INDEPENDENCE BLUE CROSS
 -- A 19.4 percent increase for 65-Special subscribers and a 19.5 percent increase for 65-Special Limited subscribers. The increases will affect about 227,000 subscribers and produce $17.7 million annually. Monthly rates of $33.50 per person for 65-Special will rise to $40. Monthly rates of $22.05 per person for 65-Special Limited will rise to $26.35. The company had requested a 19.4 percent increase for 65- Special and 19.5 percent for 65-Special Limited.
 -- An average 24.8 percent increase ($450,000 annually) for 20,410 subscribers of the 65-Gold Limited program, which provides prescription drug coverage and supplements basic hospitalization coverage for 65- Special subscribers. Monthly rates will increase from $7.45 a person to $9.30. The company had requested a 34.9 percent increase.
 -- An average 9.8 percent increase ($5.5 million annually) for 43,000 subscribers covered by the Non-Group Basic Hospital programs. These programs cover subscribers under age 65 who do not belong to a group plan. The company had requested a 9.8 percent increase.
 -- An average 10.9 percent increase ($1.9 million) for 38,300 Non- Group Major Medical subscribers. Non-Group Major Medical provides coverage for prescription drugs, additional physician services and hospital care above the basic hospitalization coverage to individuals who do not receive health insurance through an employer. The company had requested an 18.9 percent increase.
 BLUE CROSS OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA
 -- An average 12.3 percent increase ($14 million annually) for 262,000 subscribers covered by 65-Special. Monthly rates will increase from $36.90 to $41.45. The company had requested a 15.2 percent increase.
 The department also approved an entry-age rating system for new subscribers that will base rates on when an individual enrolls in the 65-Special program. Persons entering the program when they first enroll in Medicare Part B will receive the most favorable rates while persons enrolling after their initial eligibility will receive higher rates. The rates will range from $41.45 to $58.65.
 -- An average 7.65 percent increase ($10,000 annually) for 600 subscribers in the 65-Basic program, which provides less coverage than the 65-Special program. Monthly rates will increase from $17.65 to $19. The department rejected the company's proposal to base rates on income levels of individual subscribers.
 -- An average 28.2 percent increase ($10.27 million annually) for 125,000 subscribers covered by the 65-Plus I program, raising the monthly rates from $24.30 to $31.15. The 65-Plus I program provides coverage for prescription drugs, private duty nursing and ambulance services and supplements the 65-Special and Basic programs. The company had requested a 32.3 percent increase.
 PENNSYLVANIA BLUE SHIELD
 -- An average 4.16 percent increase ($12.4 million annually) for 744,000 subscribers in the 65-Special program. Monthly per person rates for this coverage range from $29.20 to $43.60 depending on the Blue Cross region where the person resides. The company had requested a 4.21 percent increase.
 -- An average 14.25 percent increase ($13.1 million annually) for 140,000 Community Rated Direct Pay Medical/Surgical subscribers. The program provides non-group individuals coverage for physicians' services. Depending on the Blue Cross region where a person resides and the plan in which a person is enrolled, rates will range from $17.70 to $179.50. The company had requested a 17.18 percent increase.
 /delval/
 -0- 11/25/91
 /CONTACT: Spike Lukens of the Insurance Department, 717-787-3289/ CO: Insurance Department ST: Pennsylvania IN: INS SU:


KA -- PH041 -- 7009 11/25/91 16:19 EST
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Date:Nov 25, 1991
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