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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: Jan. 13, 2009
Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Minnesota Offers No Co-Pay For Use Of Retail Clinics

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is offering a new benefit option that eliminates co-pays for members who use retail clinics.

The option is available on most fully insured small and large group plans, resulting in hundreds of thousands of Blue Cross members who will benefit from lower out of pocket costs. Blue Cross is the first healthcare plan in Minnesota to offer this benefit, the company said.

Blue Cross said it hopes to encourage its members to use retail clinics for the treatment of simple medical conditions, such as sore throats, ear infections and seasonal allergies, as well as routine vaccinations.

"Our members have made it clear that they appreciate the option of retail clinics. Blue Cross members in Minnesota made more than 40,000 visits to retail clinics in 2007, a nearly 100 percent increase over the previous year, and we expect this rapid growth to continue," said Shawn Patterson, vice president of marketing. "We created this new option because it helps hold healthcare costs down and is responsive to consumers’ wide acceptance of retail clinics."

Blue Cross members can find out if their plan includes this benefit option by checking their contract or talking to their employer.

Blue Cross found that the average cost of a retail clinic visit for typical services was approximately half the cost of a visit to a traditional medical clinic: $47 at a retail clinic versus $97 at a traditional clinic. Blue Cross estimates that employers and members saved more than $1.25 million in healthcare costs in 2007 by using retail clinics.

Address: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, P.O. Box 64560, St. Paul, MN 55164; (651) 662-8000,

  This article was taken from:
The Executive Report on Managed Care

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