Blue Shield returns $283M more to consumers

After already rebating its consumers $167 million, Blue Shield of California announced it would return an additional $283 million, bringing the total refunds to about $450 million. The giveback will cut most consumers' December bills by more than half, reports the Los Angeles Times.

"Today's announcement provides more tangible evidence that we're putting affordability before profit," Blue Shield chief exec Bruce Bodaken said. "We hope our action will inspire others in the healthcare industry to look for ways to make quality healthcare more affordable."

Blue Shield will provide a 54 percent premium credit for its individual and fully insured group customers, reducing their premiums by an average of $135. A family of four will get a $420 average cut, with some seeing as much as $700 in reduction, notes the LA Times.

The insurer has pledged to limit annual profits to 2 percent of revenue by issuing credits to its customers. The newest rebate is based on estimates of Blue Shield's 2011 earnings, reports the San Francisco Business Times.

In addition, the insurer said it would give $10 million for hospitals and physician groups to improve efficiency and participate in accountable care organizations. Blue Shield also is giving $2 million in community grants, The Hill's Healthwatch reports.

To learn more:
- read the Los Angeles Times article
- see the The Hill's Healthwatch article
- check out the San Francisco Business Times article

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