Premera Blue Cross – the Washington state plan, in English – released a report yesterday finding that on top of their own employees’ growing healthcare costs, Washington employers paid more than $1 billion in 2004 to cover shortfalls incurred by hospitals and physicians serving Medicare and Medicaid patients. The report found that doctors shifted $620 million, or 12 percent of their revenue. The study was conducted for Premera by Milliman Inc., a consulting and actuarial firm.
A similar Milliman study in California for 2004 said that health plans and consumers paid an additional $4.5 billion for hospital care in that state to compensate for Medicaid and Medicare constraints. Milliman’s California study, commissioned by Blue Shield of California, did not include physicians’ charges.
Rich Maturi, a senior vice president of Premera, said the report would show “employers and policy makers that they needed to address an unsustainable trend in the growth of cost-shifting.” Now, if there was a universal health insurance plan in place…….