Blue Cross FlexScape Plan Helps Small Businesses Subsidize Health Care Benefits
Blue Cross of California, which insures 5.5 million individuals statewide, this week announced the April 1 launch of its FlexScape program, which aims to enable small businesses to subsidize employee health care coverage at the same rate regardless of plan type, the Ventura County Star reports. Blue Cross spokesperson Kellie Bernell said that the program will be made available to businesses statewide with two to 50 employees and will offer "fixed, predictable prices for employers while giving workers a wide array of price and coverage options." Employers participating in the program will pay a fixed dollar amount per employee per month toward the cost of coverage. Employees then are responsible for premium costs above the employer's contribution. According to Bernell, employers initially must pay a minimum contribution of $100 per month per employee to join the program. Later this year, an option allowing a monthly contribution of $80 per worker will be available. Workers will be offered "varying coverage options at low, medium and higher prices" and may pay for them with pre-tax dollars. Officials said an existing Blue Cross plan where employers cover 50% or more of their workers' coverage cost will not be affected by the new program (Ventura County Star, 3/1).