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June 9, 2013

Business briefs: June 9, 2013

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Business mixer

WESTPORT — The Galley at Westport Marina will host the next North Country Business Council mixer.

The marina, located at 20 Washington St., Westport, invites everyone to Business After Hours on Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Participants will enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar while getting together with old friends and networking with new business contacts.

Business After Hours is open to members of the council, the North Country Chamber of Commerce and all partner chambers. The council is a division of the North Country Chamber.

Anyone who is not a member of the NCBC or any partner members may contact the council for a guest pass. Admission is $2. For more information, or to make reservations, call Arlene at 523-2445, Ext. 133.

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Standards exceeded

UTICA — Excellus BlueCross BlueShield exceeded federal and state standards by $330 million in the amount it spent on medical benefits on behalf of its membership in 2012, officials reported. 

To cap profits and administrative costs of health plans in order to maximize medical benefits to consumers, the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and state regulations set certain medical benefit spending levels for insurers. For the second consecutive year of the new rules and reporting, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield exceeded the standards.

“Our mission is to provide competitive, affordable access to quality health care,” said Christopher Booth, chief executive officer for the health plan. “What this means is that our members collectively got more hospital and physician services, prescriptions and other medical benefits throughout the year than what federal and state government standards require.”

Some health insurers that didn’t meet the standards will be required to pay refunds.

State and federal standards, as they apply to New York commercial insurance customers, set the minimum level of benefits to be 82 percent of premium revenues in the individual direct-pay market along with small groups and 85 percent for large groups. Excellus BCBS reports that it spent 94.9 percent of premium revenues on medical benefits for its individual direct-pay membership, 92.5 percent for small groups and 92.1 percent for large groups.

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