SEATTLE – Regence BlueShield paid $1.59 billion in medical care for its fully insured members in 2017, or $3,718 per member, according to unaudited figures filed March 1 with the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
Regence spent approximately 80 cents of every premium dollar received from members for doctor visits, hospital care, medications and other health care goods and services. The nonprofit health insurer continued to reduce operating expenses on a per member basis. Total enrollment, including self-funded membership, increased by 43,138 members in 2017.
On gross revenue of $2 billion, Regence had a net gain of 4.3 percent, or slightly more than four cents per premium dollar. This net gain was driven in large part by lower than expected claims—a trend broadly experienced across the health insurance industry—as well as by operational efficiencies and responsible cost stewardship. Over the past 10 years, Regence’s net gain has averaged 1.4 percent.
Net returns are placed in the company’s capital reserves to ensure stable health care coverage for its total enrollment, including self-funded membership, of nearly 1.1 million members. As a nonprofit, reserves are Regence’s only source of funds for improvements, investments, and paying for higher than expected medical costs such as high dollar specialty drugs.
“2017 marked Regence’s 100-year anniversary serving Washingtonians. These financial results help offset recently challenging financial years, ensuring that we’re strongly positioned to continue serving our community for the long-term and investing in solutions to improve the health care experience for individuals and their families,” said Tim Lieb, president of Regence BlueShield.
Regence incurred $90.7 million in taxes and fees in 2017, which includes federal and state income tax. Historically, Regence has paid taxes at a consolidated statutory rate of 20 percent. With the new corporate rate of 21 percent as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Regence expects to see a minimal increase in its consolidated federal income taxes in 2018 and beyond.
Community impact. Founded more than 100 years ago in 1917, Regence and affiliated companies employ more than 1,800 people in Washington, driving more than $377 million in economic activity throughout the state, according to ECONorthwest. Regence and its Washington employees also contributed $3.2 million and nearly 4,900 volunteer hours to nonprofits in 2017.
About Regence BlueShield
Regence BlueShield has been serving Washingtonians in select counties for nearly a century and now provides nearly 1.1 million members with comprehensive health insurance solutions. As a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Regence is part of a family of companies dedicated to transforming health care by delivering innovative products and services that change the way consumers nationwide experience health care. For more information, please visit regence.com, facebook.com/regenceblueshieldwa or twitter.com/regencewa