CAMP HILL, Pa., Sept. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark Blue Shield will offer a new tiered-benefit plan in five central Pennsylvania counties designed to hold down health insurance costs while still offering members provider choice. The new plan design, known as Alliance Flex Blue, offers two levels of in-network benefits and results from collaboration with Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth.
Beginning on Sept. 8, 2015, this plan design became available to large group clients with employees located in one of the following central Pennsylvania counties: Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon and Perry. The effective start date for all group sizes and individuals is January 1, 2016.
Small groups (100 or fewer employees) and individuals in the region will be eligible for enrollment later this year.
"The question I most often get from our clients is how they can lower their health care costs while still providing rich benefits for their employees," said Highmark Blue Shield Regional Vice President Kelly Lieblein. "Alliance Flex Blue offers another opportunity to partner with outstanding, nationally-recognized providers to help our customers save money while receiving high-quality health care."
"PinnacleHealth has a long, proven record of offering the highest quality care at a lower cost," said Michael A. Young, president and CEO, PinnacleHealth System. "We understand the financial concerns of local businesses and their desire to help keep employees healthy. With our demonstrated results in safety and care coordination, plus recognition for nursing excellence, employers can make the most of the value of our services with Alliance Flex Blue network."
Alliance Flex Blue allows members to select their out-of-pocket cost savings based on the tier of the hospital system where they choose to receive their care. Members choosing services from providers and facilities participating at the Enhanced Value Level of Benefits will have the lowest level of cost-sharing, which includes the deductible, copay and coinsurance (the percentage of the cost of care for which the member is responsible). PinnacleHealth, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Health St. Joseph participate in the network at the Enhanced Value Level of Benefits.
"Penn State Hershey is committed to providing patients with access to high quality, specialty care at the lowest possible cost," said A. Craig Hillemeier, M.D., CEO, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Penn State's senior vice president of health affairs and dean of its College of Medicine. "Alliance Flex Blue offers patients and employers continued access to vital specialty services with a focus on maximizing value."
The Standard Value Level of Benefits involves a low-to-moderate level of member cost sharing. Carlisle Regional Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Holy Spirit Hospital, Reading Hospital, The Surgical Institute of Reading and other hospitals participate in the network at the Standard Value Level of Benefits.
With Alliance Flex Blue, emergency care is always covered at the Enhanced Value Level of Benefits. Similarly, behavioral health and preventative services are covered at the Enhanced Value Level of Benefits from any in-network provider.
Alliance Flex Blue is Highmark Blue Shield's second tiered-benefit plan in central Pennsylvania, joining the 21-county Community Blue Premiere Flex plan, which was launched in July 2013.
Lieblein added that plan designs like these preserve members' access, while meeting their health care needs and budgets. Highmark also provides an array of transparency tools on its member websites.
SOURCE Highmark Inc.