Sacramento Officials Work To Maintain Purchasing Pool
Sacramento County officials are trying to keep SacAdvantage, a small-business health insurance purchasing pool, intact after its parent company earlier this month announced it would shut down the program by the end of the year, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The Pacific Business Group on Health announced it would close its statewide purchasing pool, known as Pacific Health Advantage, because too many insurance providers had withdrawn from the program.
SacAdvantage provides insurance for 313 employees at less than 50 companies. The program allows uninsured workers who are ineligible for other insurance programs to obtain coverage through the purchasing pool, and the county provides a subsidy for premiums.
Sacramento County Supervisor Roger Dickinson said the county's goal "is to replace [SacAdvantage], one way or another."
Western Health Advantage -- a not-for-profit health plan owned by Catholic Healthcare West, the University of California-Davis hospital system and the NorthBay Healthcare System -- said it would help SacAdvantage members insured by Western Health make the transition into a direct Western Health plan. Western Health CEO Garry Maisel last week said Western Health would provide a subsidy for those enrolled in SacAdvantage.
Western Health also will help those insured by other HMOs move into Western Health plans.
Other insurers -- including Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield of California and Health Net -- said they are considering options that would allow members to retain coverage but have not made any commitments (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 8/18).