Western Health Announces Plans to Participate in CalPERS in 2003, Agrees to ‘One-Year Freeze’ on Enrollment
Officials at Western Health Advantage last week announced that the Sacramento-based HMO will participate in CalPERS next year, a reversal of an earlier decision to withdraw from the health system, the Sacramento Business Journal reports. Western Health will enroll no new CalPERS members next year, although new dependents of the HMO's 5,000 current CalPERS members may enroll. After six weeks of "feverish" negotiations, Western Health in June asked CalPERS for a 23% increase in reimbursement rates in 2003. The health system "balked" at the proposal, and Western Health announced plans to withdraw from CalPERs at the end of the year. However, the CalPERS Health Benefits Committee last week convinced Western Health to accept a 15% increase in reimbursement rates and a "one-year freeze" on enrollment to participate in 2003. According to the Journal, "Western Health's return is all the more important" after Health Plan of the Redwoods and Universal Care, two HMOs that CalPERS had selected to participate in 2003, last month announced that they plan to withdraw from the health system at the end of the year. In 2003, CalPERS will offer members three HMO options through Blue Shield of California, Kaiser Permanente and Western Health (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 6/28).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.