Blue Cross of California Asks Ventura County for 33% Increase in HMO Premiums for County Employees
Blue Cross of California has requested a 33% increase in premiums for an HMO plan that currently covers about 2,100 Ventura County employees, the Ventura County Star reports. County officials said "they would not pass the increase on to employees." If the county agrees to Blue Cross' proposal, the new contract would begin in December. The "cash-strapped" county has enough money to cover the cost of the increase from then until the end of the 2002-2003 fiscal year next June but would need to find an additional $4.5 million for FY 2003-2004, according to county Executive Officer Johnny Johnston. "We have to hope our income increases $4.5 million to cover it. Historically, we've had that much growth, but it's not a normal incremental increase in our budget," Johnston said. Johnston said it is possible that the county will look for another HMO, but county Supervisor Steve Bennett said it is "absolutely" necessary to do so. "You can't take those increases without considering what's out on the table," Bennett said (Levin, Ventura County Star, 7/4).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.