What are Blues Doing to Drive Employer Engagement in Value-Based Care?

In light of negative comments about private payor ACOs from health insurance executives at the AHIP meeting in Chicago, there was an interesting announcement by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association covered by Health Leaders.

The article said, “The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Tuesday announced the creation of Blue Distinction Total Care, a value-based national care network designed for large businesses with employees located in many different states. When it’s operational on Jan. 1, 2016, Total Care will allow employees of large companies to access nearly 450 patient-focused care programs from 36 BCBS independent companies operating in 37 states. The network includes more than 59,000 primary care professionals and nearly 59,000 specialty clinicians, with network growth expected to continue to in the coming years, BCBSA said.”

This is big new for the Blues. Cigna’s national approach has been aggressively touted – 130 large group ACOs – and United has done the same. But for the first time, Blues are now offering a nearly national network to large, multi-state employers who want a value-based care option. The Association’s chief strategy officer explained the approach, “For Total Care to work, employers need to save money and their employees need to find value in the care. ‘Our criteria are built around those two outcomes,’ Sullivan says. The sales pitch to larger employers is that ‘for the first time you are going to have access to a national program that is patient focused that will provide more integrated care for greater savings and better long-term results. We think the employees are going to find it of greater value.”

It’s interesting how congruent this is with the comments made at AHIP by representatives from the big Wall Street plans. They said, “Providers and insurers need to do a better job of reaching patients and employers.” And that seems to be exactly what Total Care is trying to do, starting with national employers.

When you combine the trust ratings from the ReviveHealth hospital and physician survey – both of which reveal independent BlueCross plans as the winners when it comes to B2B trust in healthcare – there seems to be a real opportunity for Blues to take the lead and increase employer adoption of value-based care strategies.

December 2, 2015
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