Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

March 16, 1995


Take a look at what happens when Blue Cross has a monopoly

To the editor:

I would like to add my voice to those persons desiring the University to continue competition among the various health care providers. While the University and faculty and staff may receive a short term windfall by granting monopoly, there is no guarantee that this windfall will continue into the future.

The University administration need only look at agencies or organizations that have accepted the Blue Cross-Blue Shield monopoly. Several years ago, the organizations associated with the United Jewish Federation Association accepted a Blue Cross-Blue Shield proposal for exclusive providership in exchange for freezing premium rates. This is the year that rates are to go up. Like the University, this association is moving from a calendar year to a budget year for enrollment in health care so Blue Cross did not raise rates on several options for the period of January to June.

On the other hand, the United Jewish Federation Association experienced rate increases for one plan, the Blue Cross Traditional Plan. The percentage increase for individuals was 21%, parent-child 26%, parent-children 25%, husband-wife 22% and family 21%.

One might argue that these rate increases are not representative, particularly since the Blue Cross Traditional Plan is usually the most expensive plan. Nonetheless, Blue Cross is a business and like any smart business appeared willing to give up income for market share, only to recoup the lost income when the monopoly was in place.

Is this our future as well?

Rafael J. Engel

Associate Professor

School of Social Work

Leave a Reply