Blue Cross of California, Health Net of California To Offer Temporary PPO Plans
Blue Cross of California on Oct. 1 began offering a preferred provider organization plan for people who are temporarily uninsured, and Health Net of California plans to offer a similar plan in several weeks, the Orange County Register reports. People who have lost their jobs, changed jobs or just graduated from college can obtain one to six months of coverage under the Blue Cross PPO. The plan is "significantly cheaper" than obtaining coverage through COBRA, or the 1986 Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which allows unemployed workers to retain health coverage for 18 months under their former employers' insurance plans by paying 102% of the premiums. In 2001, COBRA cost approximately $200 per month for individuals and $530 per month for a family in California, the Register reports. Under the Blue Cross PPO, a single, healthy individual between ages 19 and 29 would pay $46 per month with a $2,000 deductible or $90 per month with a $250 deductible. A person between ages 35 and 39 would pay around $175 with a $2,000 deductible and $345 with a $250 deductible for family coverage. People with "significant health problems" do not qualify for the Blue Cross plan. "Given that it's a lot cheaper than COBRA, and with all the layoffs, you would think this has got to be more useful now than when people were having no trouble finding a job," Gary Claxton, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said. According to Stephen Synott, general manager of individual services at Blue Cross, the slumping economy was "a factor" in the company's decision to offer the PPO. Health Net did not offer any details about its plan (Wolfson, Orange County Register, 10/29).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.