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Question(s) / Instruction(s):

In April 2008, Galen Williams, president of the Medical Insurance Company, was preparing for a meeting with Robin Lane, manager of MedCo Billing Services.  MedCo Billing Services was a subsidiary of the Medical Insurance Company, a completely separate company that was wholly owned by the Medical Insurance Company.  An agreement with the state of New Hampshire Insurance Commission had permitted Medical Insurance to establish MedCo Billing Services, a computer invoicing and billing service subsidiary, to perform billing processing for the insurance company and to sell computer billing services to other insurance companies and organizations.  It was necessary for these two companies to be separate companies because Medical Insurance was a regulated business, and MedCo Billing Services would be an unregulated company.  Mr. Williams had told the Insurance Commission in 2004 that a profitable computer billing services subsidiary would reduce pressure for insurance rate increases.  However, by the end of 2007 MedCo Billing Services had yet to experience a profitable month.  Ms. Lane felt the business was progressing well, and only more time was needed until MedCo Billing Services showed a profit, but Williams felt action was necessary to reduce the drain on Medical Insurance Company resources.

MedCo Billing Services had grown out of the needs of Medical Insurance Company for computer services to invoice, collect, and account for its own operations in the metropolitan region it served.  However, when Medical Insurance management realized that other insurance companies in the metropolitan region needed similar services and that a centralized computer service could be provided over existing internet portal networks, they suggested that MedCo could sell computer time not needed by the insurance operations.  In addition, the state Insurance Commission had encouraged all insurance companies under its jurisdiction to seek new sources of revenue and profits to reduce the need for rate increases that higher costs would otherwise bring.









Questions to Guide the Analysis

  1.  “Revenue hours” is the key activity that drives costs at MedCo Billing Services.  Which expenses in Exhibit 2 are variable with respect to revenue hours?  Which expenses are fixed with respect to revenue hours?  Explain why each expense was chosen as such.
  2. For each expense that is variable with respect to revenue hours, calculate the cost per revenue hour.
  3. Create a contribution margin income statement for MedCo Billing Services.  Assume that intra-company usage is 205 hours.  Assume Commercial usage is at the March level.  This statement therefore, will not reflect any specific time period but will be used as the company’s basis for future analysis.
  4. Assuming the intra-company demand for service will average 205 hours per month, what level of commercial revenue hours of computer use would be necessary to break even each month?

Since the intra-company demand is known to be 205 hours, the contribution from these sales is assured to cover a portion of the fixed costs.  Thus, to determine the level of commercial revenue hours required to break even, the contribution from the commercial sales only needs to cover the fixed costs remaining after subtracting the fixed costs already covered by the contribution from intra-company sales.

  1. Estimate the effect on net income for MedCo Billing Services for each of the options Williams has suggested if Lane estimates as follows:
  • (A) Increasing the price to commercial customers to $1,000 per hour would reduce demand by 30%.
  • (B) Reducing the price to commercial customers to $600 per hour would increase demand by 30%.
  • (C) Increased promotion would increase revenue hours by up to 30%.  Lane is unsure how much promotion this would take. (How much could be spent and still leave MedCo Billing Services with no reported loss each month if commercial hours were increased by 30%?)

Since the intra-company usage is known to be 205 hours (as used in question 3), use this in your analysis and comparison of the options above.

  1. Based on your analysis of this case, is MedCo Billing Services really a problem to the Medical Insurance Company?

If you were Galen Williams what would you do about MedCo Billing Services?  Further, when answering this question, make sure that you put yourself in Williams’ shoes and think of your response to this question as he would think about it from his point of view. What financially does he know and what does it mean to him as he tries to make his decision?

Support your statements/responses to the above two questions with a quantitative presentation or calculations wherever possible.




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