Faced with the harsh reality that the economy isn't going to heal anytime soon--and that health costs aren't about to drop very much---Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is looking inward, attempting to reduce the cost of its bureaucracy. This is something of a different tack from most of its peers, which largely continue to insist that they can stay solvent by squeezing more concessions out of doctors and hospitals on one end, and raising premiums on the other.
BCBS of Massachusetts, however, has resigned itself to the changing landscape of healthcare in the United States, including the fact that more and more consumers will likely be making decisions about their healthcare rather than their employers.
Over the next 18 to 24 months, health plan execs are planning to tighten their belts by increasing productivity through technology, reducing head count through attrition (no major layoffs planned) and even allowing some employees to work from home to save office space. The insurer says that it is making these changes now while it's still strong, in an attempt to stay in a good position in the market, rather than reacting to problems after they occur.
To learn more about these new efforts:
- read this Boston Globe piece