SOURCE: Business Benefits Insurance

November 16, 2009 14:06 ET

Massachusetts Employers Face Whopping Blue Cross Hikes in First Quarter 2010, Says Business Benefits Insurance

20% to 45% Jump in Blues' Health Plan Rates Coming, but Employers Have Alternatives, Jim Edholm Says

ANDOVER, MA--(Marketwire - November 16, 2009) - Massachusetts small businesses insured with Blue Cross & Blue Shield will likely see their health insurance premiums skyrocket around 20 percent to 45 percent in the first of quarter of 2010, according Jim Edholm, president of Business Benefits Insurance in Andover, Mass.

"We just got a batch of renewals for BCBS for January, and they are ugly," he said.

Many of these organizations will get their rate shock when their plan renews in January. For others with later renewal dates, the pain may lessen, depending on the renewal month, Edholm said.

"BCBS has had a very long run of success with rates, and this is just the inevitable catch-up," Edholm said. "BCBS goofed last year -- big time -- when they calculated the rates for higher-deductible plans."

Few employers can afford such big hike today. So what can they do? Edholm recommends:

--  Be creative. Be open to looking at alternative carriers and ways of
    structuring your health plan.
--  Help may be on the way. Sometime in 2010 -- maybe as early as Jan. 1 -
--  BCBS is expected to introduce "tiered" products, which ought to be very

Edholm's blog on the subject can be read at

Business Benefits Insurance ( is an employee benefits planning firm in Andover, Mass. Edholm's benefits blog can be read at

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