Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan says it will maintain its statewide average premium increase to just 4% for businesses with fewer than 100 employees that renew their coverage between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.[@@]

The decision applies to small groups that use Michigan Blue’s preferred provider organization plans and traditional fee-for-service plans.

Michigan Blue says its 4% average premium increase is the lowest it has achieved in 10 years.

Michigan Blue, a nonprofit carrier that providers or administers health coverage for a total of 4.7 million people, says it is able to hold increases down because of a new state law that lets Michigan Blue require that a certain percentage of a group’s members enroll with the health plan.

The new law is helping Michigan Blue do a better job of enrolling a balanced pool of sick and healthy employees, the company says.

Under the old law, most health carriers could impose minimum enrollment requirements but Michigan Blue could not, the company says.