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Last updated 2:38PM ET
May 25, 2018
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PRC commissioner Marks surprised by Blue Cross deal (Podcast)
(2010-04-26)
(KSFR) -

New Mexicans enrolled with Blue Cross and Blue Shield will have to pay an insurance premium increase averaging just over 21 percent. That's the word from a meeting of the Public Regulation Commission this morning that resulted in a surprise announcement from the insurance commissioner that he and Blue Cross had reached a deal over the weekend. That deal reduces the average 25 percent premium increase that the insurance commission had already granted Blue Cross, and it drops the increase to just over 21 percent. The Public Regulation Commission had called the hearing, hoping to get the chance to ask the insurance commissioner and Blue Cross about why the earlier rate hike had been granted. Instead, they were surprised that a weekend deal had already been reached. PRC commissioner Jason Marks tells KSFR the PRC has no ultimate authority over the insurance commission in such a case. Listen to Marks.

Paul Bardacke, the Santa Fe lawyer representing Blue Cross-Blue Shield, says the increase was needed because the insurer loses money on individual policies, even though it is profitable on group policies. He says it's a disadvantage, not an advantage, that Blue Cross has 70 percent of the New Mexico market for health insurance policies. He says the lack of competition is what keeps prices high. He also says today's agreement requires 75 percent of insurance premiums to be devoted to paying healthcare costs. The state's minimum is 60 percent.

Marks on tape -- captioned audio



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