Blue Cross Blue Shield in the headlines: 5 updates

From new university partnerships to the launch of reproductive care teams, these are five key updates about Blue Cross Blue Shield companies recently reported by Becker's:

1. Three weeks after a halted merger between BCBS Louisiana and Elevance Health, two Louisiana state lawmakers filed bills that would make it more difficult for nonprofit insurers, (such as BCBS Louisiana) to reorganize into a for-profit organization that could then be sold.

2. Four BCBS plans have publicly reported year-end financial losses due to ongoing trends such as rising utilization in the Medicare Advantage space and growing demand for weight loss drugs. BCBS Michigan reported a $544 million underwriting loss driven by a $3.2 billion increase in medical costs in 2023. Excellus BCBS reported a net loss of $23 million on $6.6 billion in premiums collected in 2023, the company's first loss since 2008. BCBS Rhode Island reported a $26 million operating loss in 2023, which it said reflected a "substantial surge in medical and pharmacy claims." Highmark BCBS of Western New York reported a net loss of $21 million on revenue of $3 billion in 2023. 

3. Wellmark BCBS partnered with the University of Iowa on a risk management and insurance degree program intended to support an insurance talent pipeline and industry research in the state.

4. BCBS Massachusetts launched a set of new initiatives aimed at ensuring access to reproductive care services, including an in-house reproductive care team led by an OB/GYN physician to help members find access to infertility/IVF, maternity and abortion services, along with providing resources and medical guidance.

5. Blue Shield of California sat down with Becker's to discuss how its Promise Health Plan is now offering its Medicaid members in Los Angeles and San Diego counties the opportunity to earn their GED diploma at no cost, a first of its kind program in the state.

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