MEDPARTNERS: Blue Cross Backs Down on Enrollee-Transfers
Members of Blue Cross of California will be able to continue seeing doctors affiliated with the ailing MedPartners Provider Network Inc., after the insurer ceded to pressure from state regulators not to transfer the enrollees. The Los Angeles Times reports that last week Blue Cross "unilaterally assigned" 118,000 enrollees serviced by MedPartners to other doctors. But after the state Department of Corporations -- which took control of the MedPartners provider network earlier this month -- issued a cease-and-desist order Friday, Blue Cross agreed yesterday to file a formal request for the transfer, stating that members "were clearly facing risks regarding their health care." In the meantime, enrollees will be able to continue seeing their MedPartners-affiliated physicians. Blue Cross' reversal represents at least a temporary victory for the DOC and Eugene Froelich, appointed to oversee the state takeover of MedPartners, as they attempt to prevent an exodus of insurers from the provider network that could only worsen its teetering financial condition (Maharaj/Bernstein, 3/24). The Orange County Register reports that Blue Cross' aborted withdrawal from MedPartners came because it "contracted directly with medical groups instead of the now-bankrupt [provider network]," fueling fears that Blue Cross wouldn't be protected under bankruptcy-court protection (Crabtree, 3/23).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.