Blue Shield of California Hires Hundreds of New Providers To Prepare for ‘Wave’ of New Members from CalPERS
Blue Shield of California has contracted with an additional 800 doctors, six medical groups and independent practice associations and two hospitals in preparation for a "wave of new business" from CalPERS, the San Francisco Business Times reports. Blue Shield expects to enroll 400,000 new members after Health Net of California, PacifiCare of California and Health Plan of the Redwoods exit CalPERS at the end of the year. In addition, Western Health Advantage will enroll no new CalPERS members next year. CalPERS members can select between Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente of California for HMO coverage in the open enrollment period for next year, which began on Sept. 3 and will end on Oct. 18. In addition, CalPERS will offer members two preferred provider organization plans and three association plans. Blue Shield "has been aggressively courting" CalPERS members, and the health system "made the insurer's task easier early this year when officials decided to automatically enroll members that had been in disqualified plans" in Blue Shield. CalPERS members can switch plans in the open enrollment period, the Business Times reports. The increase in CalPERS members could provide more than $1.2 billion in additional revenue for Blue Shield. However, the "huge influx" of members could add costs that "may not be predictable until the insurer has had experience running such a large program," Glenn Smith, senior benefits consultant for Craford Benefit Consultants, said. He added, "They will be flying a bit blind, and the financial risks are larger." Blue Shield currently provides coverage for about 100,000 CalPERS members and has a total enrollment of about 2.3 million members (Walker, San Francisco Business Times, 8/30).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.