to sign contract with Blue Cross
Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics, Orofino, and St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics, Cottonwood, are in the process of signing a contract with Blue Cross of Idaho as a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) for their physicians and clinic services.
“Both CHVC and SMHC have been PPOs with Blue Cross for a number of years for hospital services. However, though the hospitals participated, the physician services were not included in the PPO. Participating as a PPO entails a reduction in our reimbursements for providing clinic services,” said Casey Meza, CVHC/SMHC CEO.
The State of Idaho recently announced it is transferring employee health benefits to Blue Cross of Idaho.
“ We feel it is our responsibility to make health care more accessible to those state employees, local federal government employees and others insured by Blue Cross. Our mission is to provide health care services to the people in this area. It is our hope that government employees will use services locally, in much the same way it is important to buy locally if residents wish local businesses to prosper.”
Employees at the correctional facilities in Cottonwood and Orofino; State Hospital North in Orofino; the local Health and Welfare offices; Department of Lands; US Forest Service employees; retired federal and state workers and others will be impacted by the decision.
“There are many other businesses and individuals in the community who have their health insurance through Blue Cross of Idaho, including the Orofino School District. We hope that opening up the option to subscribe to the Blue Cross PPO might enable the school district to achieve some savings in their health benefit expense. CVHC and SMHC are interested in trying to help people stay insured and control their health insurance expense” said Meza.
“Clearwater Valley and St. Mary’s are being responsive to the health needs of residents in their service area,” said Kurt Meis, District Manager, Blue Cross of Idaho. “Their decision to sign on as a PPO for clinic and physician services will provide another option for local residents.”
According to a recent article in the Lewiston Morning Tribune, hospitals and doctors on the preferred provider plan give Blue Cross discounts off their regular billing costs. Services performed at PPO hospitals cost less for patients out-of-pocket than services provided at hospitals or physician offices that are not preferred providers.
“Government and school district employees will be receiving materials provided by Blue Cross and other carriers. We have contracts with all the major carriers. The employees and retirees need to read those materials and select a plan based on their anticipated usage of health care services, “ said Meza. “It is crucial for residents in rural areas to understand that although a hospital and clinic is a provider of service, we are also a business and must be aware of our bottom line. Like other businesses in town, we need the citizens of our region to purchase their healthcare locally. ”
The State of Idaho provides health insurance benefits to 18.000 employees with 27,000 dependents and 3,000 retirees.
“This will also impact federal employees who have a number of health insurance options. In addition to the Blue Cross traditional plan they can opt for the PPO plan. Those people who have private insurance through their insurance representative can also look at that option,” said Meza. “We are proud to serve the communities in this area and look forward to making it simpler for federal, state, retirees and others to make their health care decisions.”