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June 28, 2012
BCBSND explains how today's ruling will impact North Dakotans

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) officials said today's Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) doesn't change the course the organization has been taking since the ACA was first signed into law – to drive toward North Dakota solutions to affordable health care for its members.

BCBSND President and CEO Paul von Ebers said the company has already implemented parts of the ACA and will continue to do so, and in addition, has put into action multiple initiatives that address the cost of health care through collaboration with doctors, hospitals and clinics across the state.

"We are confident that we can initiate North Dakota solutions to health care costs," von Ebers said. "We are already doing it."

One example is BCBSND's Total Cost of Care contracts, which compensate doctors, hospitals and clinics for quality health outcomes for members, rather than just paying a fee for service.

"This successful collaboration will have a huge impact in a state like North Dakota where we have six integrated health care systems that reach 70 percent of our members," von Ebers said.

BCBSND will also continue to support wellness programs that work toward a culture of prevention rather than that of treatment.

Additionally, von Ebers said, there are parts of the ACA that BCBSND will work to change on behalf of its members.

"The insurer tax will cost our members an additional $65 per year for an individual plan and $200 for a family plan if it goes forward. We'd like to see that part of the bill stripped and replaced with another funding mechanism," von Ebers said. Von Ebers also pointed out that the law will require BCBSND to raise prices to young people, who often have the least ability to pay for health insurance.

Finally, BCBSND will continue to work with the North Dakota Legislature for legislation to create a North Dakota health insurance exchange. Without such legislation, more North Dakota health care decisions will be made in Washington. "North Dakotans should decide how to organize our local health care system, not someone in Washington," von Ebers said.

Von Ebers said that BCBSND will continue to listen to its members, watch the market and respond to market demands to ensure its products represent the best value for North Dakotans.

"This ruling doesn't change our commitment to addressing the cost issue, and moving forward to develop and implement North Dakota solutions," von Ebers said.

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