The Foundation fort Taxpayer and Consumer Rights warned that Blue Cross of California’s move today to substantially cut benefits in its policies and lower rates could create a new brand of “junk policies” that do not provide real protection in serious medical emergencies.
“This appears to be the first wave of junk policies that are worth far less than the products Blue Cross had offered in the past because they slash benefits and increase the patient’s share of cost to an unreasonable degree in some cases,” said Jamie Court, FTCR’s executive director. “A $50 per month policy with a $1000 deductible and a 25% co-pay will only be used in cases of catastrophic problems, yet the policy will still require patients to pay for 25% of major medical bills that could run well into the six figures. This does nothing to help the uninsured, as Blue Cross claims, because the uninsured cannot afford to meet either the high deductible or the co-pay. The other new products appear to push existing policyholders out of policies that they have paid into for decades for plans with less benefits, such as elimination of out-of-pocket maximum payments when seeing out-of-network providers At very least Blue Cross should give patients the choice to retain old policies. The California Department of Managed Care should guarantee that patients who have paid for decades for more generous benefits should not be pushed into junk policies.”