Health plans prepare for legislation to pass

January 15, 2010

While the U.S. House and Senate wrangle over the final healthcare bill, health plans aren't sitting idly by waiting for the future to arrive.

While the U.S. House and Senate wrangle over the final healthcare bill, health plans aren’t sitting idly by waiting for the future to arrive. There are a number of trends plans can expect to affect business in 2010 and beyond.

The economy is still a wild card, but is showing signs of recovery. If the economy does improve, and more jobs are created, then health plan membership will also improve. If the economy doesn’t continue to improve, health plans must be prepared to focus even more on retaining and attracting members, according to Tom Epstein, vice president for public affairs, Blue Shield of California.

“Health plans need to develop products that are easy to understand and administer to prepare for the exchange environment,” he says. “We must also take strong action to hold the line on costs while improving care coordination and incentivizing quality care.”

Epstein says health plans will continue to seek partnerships and try new programs and technologies to improve the quality of care and lower costs.

“At Blue Shield we are piloting a new program with a medical group and a hospital where we all share the risk for providing coordinated care at a lower cost for a major customer,” he says. “Health plans will also bring more processes online to provide faster and more accurate service at a lower cost.”