Membership spike seen by Priority

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    Net income for Priority Health’s health maintenance organization was lower for the first six months of 2010, compared to 2009, under a combination of underwriting losses, softer investment gains and a 10.4 percent membership increase.

    According to financial statements filed with the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation, Priority Health stayed in the red with net income of $53,108 through June 30, compared to $5.5 million through the second quarter of last year.

    The organization swung to an underwriting loss of $3.8 million, compared to positive results of $782,504 for the first half of 2009. Investments went from $3.9 million to $2.4 million in the first six months of 2010.

    Membership increased from 380,816 at the end of 2009 to 420,709 at the end of June. Still, administrative costs dropped from $50.9 million to $50.5 million.

    Priority’s Medicaid HMO saw net income rise slightly from $3.7 million to $3.8 million comparing the first half of 2009 to 2010. Underwriting gains moved from $3.5 million to $3.8 million. Membership stood at 63,895 on June 30, up 1.6 percent since the end of 2009.

    Priority Health is majority-owned by Spectrum Health.

    At Grand Valley Health Plan, year-to-date net income landed in positive territory at $136,922, compared to a net loss of $302,521 for the first half of 2009. A net underwriting loss of $50,130 was offset by investment gains of $187,052.

    Membership at Michigan’s only staff-model HMO, which had slipped dramatically over the past several years, posted a small gain to 7,735 by June 30 from 7,558 at the end of 2009.

    At Blue Care Network, which is a local market share leader along with Priority Health, net income pushed to $28.7 million for the first half of 2010, compared to $19.5 million during the same period last year. Lower investment gains at $15 million compared to $19 million in 2009 were offset by improvements in net underwriting gain from $820,280 last year to $13.8 million in 2010.

    BCN reported membership of 525,016, a drop of 210 since the first of the year. It is part of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the state’s largest health insurer.

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