HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that employers in Minnesota appear to be bucking the national trend of moving from fully insured to self-insured health plans. According to the latest Minnesota Health Plan Analysis, the state's largest insurers, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and Medica, have seen self-insured membership decrease slightly from January 2007 to January 2008 by 1 percent and 9 percent, respectively. At the same time, overall HMO enrollment in the state has grown from 401,693 in January 2006 to 435,179 as of January 2008, according to data from HealthLeaders-InterStudy.

"The growth of HMO business lines is contrary to what's happening nationwide where most national insurers are seeing self-insured membership drive their enrollment growth," said Don Mooradian, an analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. "For instance, nationally, UnitedHealth Group saw its fully insured enrollment decline by 5 percent from 2005 to 2007, while its self-insured business rose by 11 percent."

According to the report, the market dynamics might be the reason Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota introduced SureBlue, the first plan of its kind offered by a Minnesota insurer because it offers a three-year rate guarantee to fully insured businesses with 51 to 249 employees. SureBlue promotes budget certainty for healthcare costs, which is acknowledged as one of the most unpredictable components of a business' financial plan. Introduced in mid-September, it will take effect January 2009 and is available to employers directly or through brokers.

"Other plans might copy the SureBlue model to stem the trend toward self-insurance. It and similar plans will prove popular in the coming months because of their ability to provide consistent premiums that businesses can plan against," noted Mooradian. "However, the nation's current financial crisis could also cause businesses to rethink self-insurance and take the more cautious fully insured route."

Why Pharmaceutical Companies Need Health Plan Analysis

Health Plan Analysis identifies key health plan trends, which can be used by pharmaceutical companies to create comprehensive strategic plans and sales strategies at state and local levels. Updated quarterly, Health Plan Analysis provides a detailed look at plan design and financials, as well as information about mergers, legislation and other influencers driving healthcare in a particular region.

About HealthLeaders-InterStudy

HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a Decision Resources, Inc. company, is the authoritative source for managed care data, analysis and news. For more information, please visit www.HealthLeaders-InterStudy.com.

About Decision Resources, Inc.

Decision Resources, Inc. is a cohesive portfolio of companies that offers best-in-class, high-value information and insights on important sectors of the healthcare industry. Clients rely on this analysis and data to make informed decisions. Please visit Decision Resources, Inc. at www.DecisionResourcesInc.com.

All company, brand or product names contained in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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SOURCE: HealthLeaders-InterStudy

CONTACT: Lisa Osgood of HealthLeaders-InterStudy, +1-781-296-2606,
losgood@hl-isy.com; or Elizabeth Marshall of Decision Resources, Inc.,
+1-781-296-2563, emarshall@dresources.com

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