Blue Cross’ Decision to Drop Tiered Hospital Plan Does Not Prompt Other Health Insurers to ‘Follow Suit’
Although Blue Cross of California last month dropped a proposal to implement a tiered hospital plan, other health insurers in the state have no plans to "follow suit," the East Bay Business Times reports (Thomas, East Bay Business Times, 5/31). Under tiered hospital plans, health insurers require members who receive care at more expensive hospitals to pay hundreds of dollars in additional copayments. According to health insurers, employers who decide to participate in tiered hospital plans can save as much as 20% on the cost of health insurance premiums (California Healthline, 5/6). PacifiCare of California and Blue Shield of California said that their tiered hospital plans "are working," and Health Net of California plans to launch a similar plan later this year. In addition, Aetna U.S. Healthcare of California may consider a tiered hospital plan in the future. About 10,000 individuals and 26 employers participate in PacifiCare's optional tiered hospital plan, according to company spokesperson Tyler Mason. David Joyner, a spokesperson for Blue Shield, which added tiered hospital plans to the company's HMO and preferred provider organization plans in April, said, "We believe that an increased level of transparency and awareness is critical. What we have done here is a first step." He added that Blue Shield may offer similar plans for medical groups and individual physicians in the future (East Bay Business Times, 5/31).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.