Minn. Blues partners with provider for new narrow network plan

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota has partnered with Allina Health, one of the state's largest provider systems, to create a new health plan based on interviews with patients and employers about which aspects they don't like in their current coverage.

The result is BluePrint, a plan that aims to eliminate any financial barriers to members receiving medical care, including skipping co-pays and deductibles for some office visits, reported Minneapolis Public Radio.

"We tried to strip everything out that got in the way of optimal patient care," Robert Wieland, executive vice president of Allina's clinic and community division, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The BluePrint plan, which will be available on the state's health insurance exchange, is geared for consumers with three chronic conditions--diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol--although the plan is open to anyone. Members will receive two free office visits, including primary care, specialty or behavioral health, while those with chronic conditions will have an extra free office visit.

And since it's a narrow network plan, members will have to seek care at one of Allina's hospitals and clinics as well as doctors working at 52 independently-owned physician practices. When consumers sign up for BluePrint, they will take a health assessment, after which Allina will contact them to help better manage their health, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported.

Wieland thinks such collaborations will continue to appear throughout healthcare markets. "I think health plans have areas of expertise that provider organizations don't, on the marketing side, in product development, and sales," he said. "Provider organizations have clinical data, clinical expertise, and I think a large ability to manage populations more effectively than a health plan does."

To learn more:
- read the Minneapolis Star-Tribune article
- see the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal article
- check out the Minneapolis Public Radio article

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