Independence Blue Cross back in the black with $211 million profit

    An earlier version of this story misidentified Independence Blue Cross.  This is the corrected version.

    Independence Blue Cross, the largest health insurer in the region, posted $211 million in profits last year after two years in the red.

    Revenues declined from 2009, but lower-than-expected increases in health-care costs allowed for a 2.2-percent profit margin, said spokeswoman Liz Williams.

    “Health-care cost trends around the country, the actual cost of medical care, has flattened between ’09 and 2010, and that’s a trend nationally,” Williams said.

    A 14-percent workforce reduction also helped the bottom line.

    Norristown, Pa., internist Dr. Charles Cutler said he wishes the company would spread those profits around a little.

    “I thought they should return more of their profit to those providing medical care, with the internal medicine and the family doctors.” Cutler said. “When you divide it up among all of the doctors, they continue to underpay primary care physicians.”

    The company rolled out a new physician pay-for-performance program last summer, but incentive payouts won’t come until July. The insurer says it is too soon to tell how the program will impact its bottom line.

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