Blue Shield of California (BSC) will be shutting down for four days following Labor Day weekend as a way to stop the financial bleeding resulting from losses in “Covered California,” the state’s Obamacare exchange program.
The change will “affect most of [BSC’s] 6,000 employees in California,” the San Francisco Business Times reports, although the “exact number of workers involved hasn’t yet been tabulated.” But BSC hopes that the move could save “an estimated $4 million.”
According to the Times, BSC spokesman Steve Shivinsky said, “This is certainly not normal for us. We’re definitely seeing some income challenges as of mid-year.”
And BSC is not alone. Shivinsky indicated that “health plans nationally are facing challenges in the individual market and on the Obamacare exchanges, and some have said they plan to … cut back their participation” or exit altogether. “UnitedHealth Group said last month it planned to exit most Obamacare markets. Aetna said it’s reconsidering its presence in individual Affordable Care Act markets in 15 states, and Humana is pulling back as well.”
But BSC is not taking such steps at this point. Rather, it is raising rates as a way to bring in more funding to cover growing expenses. BSC is also looking at job cuts as a way to save money and remain solvent.
Obamacare was originally sold to the public as a way to cover the uninsured while cutting insurance premiums for other consumers. Instead, it has left millions uninsured, while millions more have lost their individual policies, and many others have seen their premium costs rise. Insurance companies are saddled with the costs, since sicker patients are enrolling in the program rather than the younger patients who were expected to subsidize the system.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.