PITTSBURGH, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark Inc. announced today that it is offering Blue Distinction ® Benefits, an employer group product that encourages use of Blue Distinction Centers, which are facilities that demonstrate better outcomes as well as fewer complications and readmissions. The product will become available April 1.
Blue Distinction is a nationwide quality designation awarded by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to hospitals that deliver high-quality care and superior outcomes for high-risk, high-cost surgical procedures. The designation focuses on patient safety and superior outcomes in six specialty areas including bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacement, spine surgery and transplants. These specialty areas represent 30 percent of total inpatient hospital costs.
"Blue Distinction Benefits offers group customers the ability to drive members to proven high-quality providers while controlling costs," said Steven Nelson, senior vice president of health services strategy, product and marketing at Highmark. "Because these specialty services are such high cost, if employers can encourage the use of proven, quality facilities, then we anticipate that better outcomes and ultimately, lower rates will follow."
With Blue Distinction Benefits, employer groups can select from three member cost-sharing options for benefit plans:
- Decreased member cost sharing such as waived deductibles and/or coinsurance/copays for members who utilize a Blue Distinction Center to receive specialty care.
- Additional copays for members who utilize a non-Blue Distinction Center to receive specialty care.
- No coverage for members who do not utilize a Blue Distinction Center to receive specialty care.