Blue Cross Launches Health Plan to Lure Patients to Lower Cost Hospitals

Andrew Dreyfus, the new CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield, described a new cost-saving plan  for employers and comsumers during a speech he gave on Wednesday to the South Shore Chamber of Commerce in Randolph.

In an attempt to rein-in costs, Blue Cross Blue Sheils of Massachusetts has developed the  Hospital Choice health insurance plan which will keep the insurance premium increase to a lower percentage. Note however that there will be a premium increase. The average premium increase would be 4.5 percent on Jan. 1 -compared with nearly 10 percent if they continued their health plan without any change.

The key is to chose hospital services from a facility listed as “lower” on the tiered list of hospitals. Not surprising the “gold standard” elite hospitals such as Brighham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and UMass Memorial Medical Center are listed as “higher” while such local Merrimack Valley hospitals as Saints Medical Center, Lowell General, Lawrence General and Caritas Holy Family hospitals are listed as lower.

It appears that the consumer still has the choice to use any of the  hospitals on the list but according to an article on the website:

In return for the reduced premium hike, consumers who participate in the plan would face dramatic increases in co-payments if they go to the 15 hospitals that Blue Cross determined are higher-cost institutions.

Also there areas in the Commonwealth where some community hospitals are “higher” and  a few teaching hospitals are in the “lower” category.

However, some community hospitals – such as South Shore Hospital in Weymouth – are also on the higher-cost list. And some Boston teaching hospitals, such as Tufts Medical Center, are on the lower-cost list. Aside from South Shore Hospital, all the other community hospitals on the South Shore are on the lower-cost list.

For the full article check here and for the list of the “lower” and higher” hospital ratings check here.

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