Blue Shield Makes Bid for UnitedHealthcare Members
Blue Shield of California is offering employers the same health insurance rates for one year that they paid for worker benefits last year under contracts with UnitedHealthcare, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Employers who transfer their employees from UnitedHealthcare to Blue Shield under the proposal could avoid a yearly premium increase this year.
After UnitedHealthcare's merger with PacifiCare, employers with UnitedHealthcare plans could face higher health insurance costs and have fewer doctors in their health plan network. UnitedHealthcare previously "leased" a doctor and hospital network to provide services to members. However, contracts with the network, which a Blue Shield subsidiary operates, expire June 22. UnitedHealthcare now shares a network with PacifiCare.
Hundreds of Bay Area doctors have rejected proposed contracts with UnitedHealthcare, saying reimbursement rates are too low. Many of the doctors have informed their patients they will no longer accept UnitedHealthcare plans.
The Blue Shield offer to employers expires Oct. 31 (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 6/16).