Montana health insurance companies post profits in 2011

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana improved its health insurance premium income by $40 million last year, but still posted an underwriting loss for the third straight year, as per a report filed with the state insurance commissioner.

Tanya Ask, vice president of external relations holds that the health insurer had a very noteworthy growth in Medicare Advantage.

The state’s largest health insurer offset $5.4 million in underwriting losses with $9 million in investment earnings, for a net gain of $3.1 million in 2011. New West Health Services of Helena and Allegiance Life & Health Insurance Co., of Missoula, both reported increased premiums, but Allegiance reported a net loss. New West improved its premium income by 32 percent to nearly $159 million, reported an underwriting gain of $1.6 million and a net profit of $1.4 million. Allegiance increased its premium income by 26 percent to $71.6 million, but reported a $3.6 million underwriting loss and a $2 million net loss.

New West is selling off its commercial health insurance business while continuing as a provider of Medicare Advantage, a supplemental coverage for those on Medicare Plan.

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