CalPERS Health Committee To Consider Regional Pricing Plan
The CalPERS health committee on Tuesday will meet to examine a regional pricing plan for health insurance coverage and other issues, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The plan would divide the state into five regions and charge different health insurance premiums depending on region (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/16). In August, 27 public agencies announced that they would discontinue health insurance coverage through CalPERS and would instead find their own coverage, citing the fund's 2004 health insurance rate increases. Twenty of the agencies that withdrew from CalPERS are in Southern California, where health care costs are lower and there is more hospital competition than in Northern California. The withdrawals came after CalPERS board members in May 2003 did not approve a regional pricing plan that would have required members in Northern California to pay higher premiums than those in Southern California (California Healthline, 9/2/03). "Bottom line is (CalPERS') membership will drop and their rates will go up if they don't do regional rating. They'll lose mostly Southern California membership," Tom Epstein, spokesperson for Blue Shield of California, said. The committee also will discuss plans to drop 15 hospitals owned by Sutter Health unless the hospital chain lowers prices. "The dynamic of the marketplace has changed now so that the hospitals have the upper hand, whereas the HMOs used to have it," CalPERS spokesperson Clark McKinley said (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/16).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.