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The Blue Cross shell game

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina put out a sad press release yesterday to bemoan that it only made $100 million in profit last year.

The insurer never publicly releases any income figures (you have to get the information from the Department of Insurance) so the change in practice is certainly fishy. Most likely, Blue Cross wants to blunt criticism that it is raising rates by more than 50 percent on some consumers by arguing that it didn’t make that much money last year.

The trouble is that Blue Cross released a statement but no earnings. It is completely worthless for the company to give the public net income without any other information. What, for example, was the operating profit? What were the investment earnings or losses? We don’t know.

And without that information we don’t know anything about the company’s financial situation.

7 Comments


  1. Lou Meyers

    March 2, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    BCBS should also make public the amount of our premium dollars spent on undermining any sensible attempt at real health care reform. Those funds were suppose to go toward our medical bills — not prolonging our misery.

    We just can’t seem to win with these guys. They continue to make the case that affordable compassionate health care and BCBS’s very existence are mutually exclusive.

  2. Quizzical

    March 3, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Adam, all the supposedly mysterious figures you seek are publicly available. If they’re so important, then stop whining and go down to DOI and get them.

  3. AdamL

    March 3, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Thanks Quizzical, we always appreciate comments from the flacks at Capstrat. DOI is still reviewing the year end 2009 filings. No worries, the filing is coming to me as soon as it’s ready.

  4. AdamL

    March 3, 2010 at 10:09 am

    And why doesn’t BCBS release the info instead of making everyone go through DOI?

  5. Quizzical

    March 3, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    You really need to get out, anyway. Consider it a field trip.

  6. Adam Linker

    March 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    After getting out to the Wake School Board meeting last night — I prefer to stay in for awhile.

  7. Adam Searing

    March 4, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Boy, testy over there at Capstrat aren’t they? Guess it’s pretty hard when one of your biggest clients makes so many major blunders on a regular basis. Of course, that must make for more billable hours however!

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