Blue Cross Announces Plans To Leave Orange County’s CalOptima Program
Blue Cross of California on Friday announced that it will no longer contract with Orange County's CalOptima program, leaving about 30,000 beneficiaries to find a new health insurance provider by March 31, the Los Angeles Times reports. Blue Cross was the second-largest plan in the CalOptima system, which pays private insurers a monthly per-member fee to provide coverage for Medi-Cal beneficiaries, according to the Times. Although Blue Cross has contracted with CalOptima since 1995, the insurer rejected a new three-year contract, saying CalOptima "no longer fit into the company's business plan," the Times reports. CalOptima CEO Ray Jankowski said, "It wasn't much of a case of negotiation. I suspect [Blue Cross officials have] been thinking about it for some time." In a letter sent last Thursday to beneficiaries, CalOptima officials said patients will have to choose one of nine other health networks, the Times reports. With an annual budget of nearly $700 million, almost all from state funds, CalOptima is the largest participant in Orange County's public health care system, according to the Times. Officials said that since about 25,000 beneficiaries see doctors who are enrolled in other networks in the system, only about 5,000 people will have to change physicians (Gottlieb, Los Angeles Times, 12/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.