Blue Cross pays out $206B

Thursday, June 30, 2005

CHICAGO -- The 40 Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the country paid out $206 billion in reimbursement claims for their 92.3 million beneficiaries. The payments increased by 10.4%, $19 billion, over the previous year.
On average, 86% of every BCBS premium dollar paid for medical claims. Administrative costs for BCBS companies fell from 10.6% to 10.2% in 2004. By contrast, Medicare dedicates less than 2% of its budget to administrative costs.
In the Wheeler Dealer power wheelchair scam and the more recent scam involving artificial arms and legs in South Florida (see HME News, June 2005), officials blamed Medicare's meager administrative allocations for the inability to detect fraud fast and early.