PBGH: Lends Weight to Small Business Purchasing
The Pacific Business Group on Health today takes over the state's small business insurance buying group, Pacific Health Advantage, or PacAdvantage, formerly known as the Health Insurance Plan of California. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that PBGH, which won the contract for PacAdvantage from the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, "is gearing up to boost small-business participation in the group insurance co-op" that provides coverage to 150,000 employees of 8,000 small firms in the state. "Rebranding the product is part of getting out the word that there's an affordable new option for small employers," said PBGH Marketing Director Chuck Kiskaden. Eligible small businesses -- which must offer insurance to at least 70% of their employees and agree to cover at least 50% of the cost -- can purchase health policies at group rates from any of PBGH's 15 participating HMOs. PBGH, regarded as "one of the nation's toughest health care bargaining agents," has already won "a significant new benefit" for small business plans -- domestic partners coverage, which will "apply to unmarried heterosexual and homosexual couples who sign an affidavit about their relationship." The Chronicle reports that PBGH said its average rates would rise about 4.6% this year -- "an increase on par with those being paid by large corporations" (Abate, 4/6).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.