When health insurance companies began offering plans under the Affordable Care Act, many hoped the program would give them an opportunity to sell cheaper policies with lower deductibles and copays.
But as more people enroll, the health insurers are seeing more and more customers who are using the program to buy cheaper plans, leaving insurers scrambling to adjust their prices and reduce the number of customers who get coverage.
The latest example of how the insurers are adapting comes from the company that serves as a financial advisor to the health insurance industry, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, according to an investigation by CNNMoney.
Blue Cross Blue plans sold under the ACA are being offered in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., according to a report by CNN.
But a review of the company’s financial filings from March through October found that the company is also facing criticism for not disclosing some of its financial information to its customers, according the CNN report.
According to CNN, Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans sold through the Blue Shield Health Benefits plan offering in Texas were being billed by the company at more than double the cost of similar plans sold in other states.
Blue Shield officials did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.
The company has not responded to a request for comment on this story.
Blue and Blue Cross plans sold on the federal marketplace, the Affordable Health Care Act marketplace, had lower deductives and copayments than plans sold by other insurers.
But insurers have been criticized for charging more for these plans.
In April, the Department of Health and Human Services released a report detailing the types of policies sold through Blue Cross, the most expensive of which were sold to people who qualified for federal subsidies under the health care law.
The report said that the plans also often didn’t cover most basic medical services, such as prescription drugs and maternity care.
The Blue Cross plan being offered to people with a deductible of $3,200 or more is not included in the HHS report, and BlueCross has since clarified that the Blue Health Insurance plan sold through its Texas affiliate is not eligible for federal financial assistance, according a spokeswoman.
The health insurance company is in the process of expanding its network to cover more people, and the BlueCross Health Benefit plan offered in Texas is one of the few plans that Blue Cross is offering that it is allowing to be sold to individuals, according an email sent to the news media by Blue Cross.
But some people in the insurance industry are upset with the changes made by BlueCross and are questioning whether the company has adequately addressed some of the criticisms raised by its financial filings.
One critic said Blue Cross has done nothing to inform its customers of the fact that they may be getting a cheaper plan, but instead has only provided them with a generic insurance plan, which is not subject to the Affordable Healthcare Act’s individual mandate.
“If they were transparent about it and they knew this was a premium option, that would be fine,” said Bob Wollman, a vice president with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
“But they’re not.
They’re not really transparent about that at all.
They just keep giving them whatever the lowest price plan is.”
According to the report, the average deductible in Blue Cross’ plans in Texas was $2,600.
But that figure was more than twice the $2.50 per month it charges for similar plans in other markets, and almost triple the $1.50 it charges in the District of Columbia, according Google Trends.
The report also noted that the insurers’ financial reports are not publicly available to the public, but it states that the insurance company’s chief financial officer said the information it provided to customers “does not reflect a full picture of BlueCross’ performance.”