Today at Berkeley Lab

New UC Medical Plans for 2014; Open Enrollment Runs From Oct. 28 to Nov. 26

UC is offering a revamped menu of medical plans for 2014, including two new plans: Blue Shield Health Savings Plan, which features a UC-funded health savings account; and UC Care, UC’s own three-tier PPO plan that offers members access to UC doctors and hospitals as well as the Blue Shield PPO network. Health Net Blue & Gold, Kaiser Permanente, Western Health Advantage and Core (administered by Blue Shield) will still be available. Four plans — Anthem Blue Cross PPO and PLUS, Anthem Lumenos with HRA and Health Net Full HMO — are being discontinued. Open Enrollment runs from Oct. 28 to Nov. 26. Information sessions will be held in the cafeteria lobby from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, 14, and 21. More>

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  1. Marcin Zemla says:

    If I am happy with my current coverage, do I need to change it by enrolling into a new plan?

  2. Rick Kelly says:

    Some points about the new UC Care and the passing of the Anthem Blue Cross “Plus” plan:

    For me, UC Care will function about the same and cost about the same as the old Anthem Blue Cross Plus (in most cases). It might even be an improvement, due to the ability to self-refer to specialists, even at UCSF. But I am lucky, many former members of the Anthem Blue Cross Plus plan will loose inexpensive access to their doctors and will have to pay quite bit more under the pure PPO part of the plan. This particularly impacts people who have doctors outside of the immediate Berkeley/Oakland area, (e.g. Concord, Pittsburg, San Jose).

    The cost of in-patient hospital care will be much higher in these outlying areas too. John Muir, for example, is available only via the much more expensive PPO route. If you want the less expensive hospital care, you will have to get it in Berkeley/Oakland/Castro Valley/SF areas.

    Service at non-hospital treatment sites, like MRI/CAT scan centers, will go way up in price for everyone. If you can get the service at a hospital center on the short list (e.g. Alta Bates, Summit, Eden) then it will remain inexpensive. I am not clear that these services are available, certainly my Alta Bates Doctors have always sent me to non-hospital imaging centers.

    If you are hospitalized outside of California, your potential out-of-pocket cost could be quite large, many thousands or tens-of-thousands of dollars, depending on the exact hospital you find yourself in. When on travel, it will be very important to carry a list of PPO hospitals in your travel area and try to make sure that you use one of them if you get seriously ill or injured. This does not apply to simple emergency room visits, which are covered at the same cost in any hospital.

    So, if you are moving from Anthem Blue Cross Plus to the UC Care, you need to be aware that the change may have little effect on you or it might cost you much, much more if you get sick.

  3. Heino Nitsche says:

    It looks like UC Care provides coverage similar to the discontinued full Health Net Plan. The UC Select provider group offers a large number of doctors and medical groups, including all my current doctors.

  4. Deborah Reed says:

    I did notice that we are offered fewer Health Plans. Health Net Blue & Gold is not the same as regular Health Net. I wish they would stop saying it is.

  5. Rick Firestone says:

    Note that we are offered fewer health plans while Obamacare offers many more plans in California.

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