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Sunday, 12 October 2014 22:00

Blue Cross continues to build portfolio of localized products

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A new Medicare health plan for senior citizens in Kalamazoo and seven other counties builds on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s push for localized products formed with care providers in specific markets.

Blue Care Network, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s HMO affiliate, developed ConnectedCare in partnership with Together Health, a care network formed earlier this year by CHE Trinity Health and Ascension Health Michigan, two of the largest health systems in the state. Blue Care Network also partnered with Oakwood ACO in Dearborn for ConnectedCare.

The health insurer previously formed similar products with CHE Trinity Health in Wayne County and three counties in West Michigan.

The arrangement with CHE Trinity offers coverage to uninsured individuals and people 65 years old and older in Kent, Muskegon and Oceana counties who are patients of Mercy Health. The coverage, launched in October 2013, enrolled more than 15,000 individuals and 1,000 65-and-older Medicare recipients in its first year, said Kevin Klobucar, the president and CEO of Blue Care Network.

“We have been going down this path a little bit,” Klobucar said. “We continue to look at our networks and figure out ways to innovate and bring with our partners high-quality, affordable products that give people choice.”

At the moment, Blue Cross Blue Shield has “nothing on the agenda right now” for additional localized products, he said.

For people who enroll in one of the localized policies, the tradeoff of a using narrower care network than if they were to buy a regular Blue Cross Blue Shield policy is the price. ConnectedCare policies, for example, start at just $41 a month and come with a “pretty comprehensive set of benefits,” Klobucar said.

Through the localized arrangements, Blue Cross Blue Shield works closely with partner care providers to figure out how to reduce the cost of health premiums and reduce waste.

“You do that through more effectively managing the relationship with the patient and getting the right care at the right place at the right time,” Klobucar said. “That’s why these localized networks work — because you have that relationship to do that.”

The products are built off the back of the Blue Care Network’s HMO and require members to have a primary care physician to “really navigate you through the health care system,” he said.

Blue Care Network plans to sell ConnectedCare online and through its network of agents. ConnectedCare is available in Kalamazoo, Genesee, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Enrollment begins Oct. 15 for coverage that takes effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Locally, the coverage is good at Ascension Health’s Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, Borgess Pipp Hospital in Plainwell and Borgess Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac.

Read 2380 times Last modified on Sunday, 12 October 2014 22:56

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