Top 6 BCBS plans see Q3 profit margins improve

All six of the top Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans improved their profit margins in the third quarter of 2017 compared to the same period a year prior, according to a Mark Farrah Associates analysis.

For its analysis, Mark Farrah Associates examined profit margins of the top BCBS health plans. They compared profit margin performance from the third quarter of 2017 to the same period of 2016.  MFA used data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the California Department of Managed Health Care for its analysis.

Here are year-over-year third quarter profit margins for the top six BCBS plans.

1. Anthem improved its profit margin in the third quarter of 2017 to 4.41 percent, up from 4.16 percent during the same period a year prior, due to lower administrative expenses.

2. Blue Shield of California increased its third quarter profit margin to 2.81 percent in 2017, up from 0.8 percent during the same period a year prior. A decline in administrative expenses contributed to the increase.

3. Florida Blue's profit margin grew from 4.12 percent in the third quarter of 2016 to 4.71 percent in the third quarter of 2017. Lower administrative expenses contributed to the increase.

4. Health Care Service Corp.'s third quarter profit margin jumped to 6.1 percent in 2017 from -1.11 percent in the third quarter of the previous year. MFA attributed the change to revenue outpacing medical costs, as well as lower administrative costs.

5. Highmark increased its profit margin from -0.02 percent in the third quarter of 2016 to 7.11 percent in the same period in 2017. MFA said lower medical and administrative costs affected the change.

6. Independence Blue Cross saw its third quarter profit margin increase to 0.3 percent in 2017, compared to -1.37 percent in the third quarter of the previous year. Increased premium revenue and lower administrative costs fueled the change.

More articles on payer issues:
CMS proposes 1.84% payment increase for Medicare Advantage plans: 3 things to know
Cigna's Q4 profits fall 30.4%, but FY net income up: 4 things to know
Anthem Q4 profits surpass $1B after one-time tax benefit: 3 things to know

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