Highmark offers group product that encourages use of high-quality hospitals

Mar 28, 2013, 09:15 ET from Highmark Inc.

PITTSBURGH, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark Inc. announced today that it is offering Blue Distinction® Benefits, an employer group product that encourages use of Blue Distinction Centers, which are facilities that demonstrate better outcomes as well as fewer complications and readmissions. The product will become available April 1.

Blue Distinction is a nationwide quality designation awarded by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to hospitals that deliver high-quality care and superior outcomes for high-risk, high-cost surgical procedures. The designation focuses on patient safety and superior outcomes in six specialty areas including bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacement, spine surgery and transplants. These specialty areas represent 30 percent of total inpatient hospital costs.

"Blue Distinction Benefits offers group customers the ability to drive members to proven high-quality providers while controlling costs," said Steven Nelson, senior vice president of health services strategy, product and marketing at Highmark. "Because these specialty services are such high cost, if employers can encourage the use of proven, quality facilities, then we anticipate that better outcomes and ultimately, lower rates will follow."

With Blue Distinction Benefits, employer groups can select from three member cost-sharing options for benefit plans:

  • Decreased member cost sharing such as waived deductibles and/or coinsurance/copays for members who utilize a Blue Distinction Center to receive specialty care.
  • Additional copays for members who utilize a non-Blue Distinction Center to receive specialty care.
  • No coverage for members who do not utilize a Blue Distinction Center to receive specialty care.

Blue Distinction Centers are located nationwide, and members can locate them by visiting www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction/bdcfinder using Highmark's online Provider Search tool, where designated hospitals are clearly identified with the Blue Distinction logo, or by calling the number on the back of their member ID card.

About Highmark
Highmark Inc. is a national diversified health and wellness company based in Pittsburgh that serves 34.4 million people across the United States through its businesses in health insurance, dental insurance, vision care, information technology and integrated health care delivery. The company, which has more than 20,000 employees, is among the largest health insurers in the U.S. and the fourth-largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield-affiliated company. Highmark operates health insurance plans in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia that serve 4.9 million members.

The company also offers health and wellness products to clients with employees throughout the country and is a recognized leader in reinsurance. In addition, Highmark operates more than 600 optical retail stores (Visionworks) and four U.S.-based eyewear manufacturing facilities. Highmark is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

SOURCE Highmark Inc.