Empire Blue Cross Prism Plans

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When Empire rolled out their new Prism plans in January 2008, we weren’t sure how they would be accepted in our small group marketplace (50 employees and under). The new Prism plans were “in-network” benefits only so if your Doctor or Hospital did not take the Prism plans you were not covered. However, Blue Cross has one of the largest physician networks in the tri-state area, so even though the plans offered “in-network” benefits only, it wasn’t difficult to find a Doctor or Hospital that would accept a Prism plan. And strangely enough, Blue Cross only offered 2 options with their Prism plans; Option 1 and Option 2. It seemed a bit limiting at the time with the only difference being basically higher co-pays for option 2. (Higher co-pays, equal lower premiums).

The Prism plans sure were priced right though, no doubt about it; $338 per single and about $960.00 per family. Compared to what everyone else was charging for healthcare premiums averaging about $400.00+ for single and over $1,200.00 for family, the Prism plans were a nice bargain. We had no problem telling our prospective clients what a great deal these Prism plans were based on price alone. To date, the Blue Cross Prism plans have become one of our best sellers. Go figure.

But as is very common lately, all good things must come to an end. For the past 2 quarters Empire has been steadily increasing their rates. The 3rd quarter rates for the lowest cost Prism plan are; $359.00 per single and $1,078.00 per family, about a 6% increase over the original pricing back in January. We’re expecting another price increase for the 4th quarter, eventhough the current prices are still reasonable compared to what the rest of the industry is offering.

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