By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island announced today its LifeStyleBlue health plan for the small employer market, with flexibility of three different benefit designs to fit the lifestyles of a diverse population.
LifeStyleBlue’s three benefit designs all include active lifestyle rewards, wellness steps and incentives, as well as reduced co-pays for those who receive care from a provider located at a patient-centered medical home, according to Blue Cross officials.
“Employers are looking for unique ways to deliver health benefits that offer flexibility and engage employees in leading a healthy lifestyle with rewards and incentives, while also addressing affordability,” said Jim Gallagher, assistant vice president of Strategic Marketing and Product Innovation at Blue Cross.
Earlier this month, Blue Cross introduced a number of new products for its Direct Pay market for individuals and families, which currently has about 15,000 members.
That potential market is expected to expand to about 70,000 when the new R.I. Health Benefits Exchange is scheduled to become operational in the fall of 2013.
The new product designs and offerings are a way for Blue Cross to get a head start on the new market, according to Gallagher.
Blue Cross also announced today that it had filed for a historically low average rate increase, meeting the recommended rate cap of 4 percent on medical costs set by R.I. Health Insurance Commissioner Christopher F. Koller.
“We understand that our customers and members continue to struggle during these difficult economic times, and many will not be happy with any request for a rate increase,” said Peter Andruszkiewicz, Blue Cross president and CEO.
“Others, however, will recognize that Blue Cross’s efforts to reduce medical expenses over the last several years, along with administrative expense reductions, are demonstrating real results for our customers,” said Andruszkiewicz.
One new product that Blue Cross is actively promoting is its BlueValue Direct 2500 plan, designed for an individual looking for the lowest possible monthly premium.
Blue Cross is also scheduling meetings across Rhode Island to meet with customers to explain some of the new benefit plans and meet with people individually. One such session is planned for Tuesday, May 22 at 6 p.m. at Ivy Garden in West Warwick.