City, Anthem Blues Reward Smart Healthcare Shoppers
Employees of Manchester, N.H., the
state’s largest city, can now earn rewards for choosing more
cost-effective healthcare providers, thanks to a pilot program
developed by the city and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New
"We strongly feel that this program represents a
key potential step in helping to control the city’s health
care costs," said Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas. "I am proud to say that
we have already seen employees step up and take advantage of this
service. It is a great way for our employees to getengaged and help
protect the excellent health benefits they have."
The program offers financial incentives to
employees who choose to receive their care in lower-cost facilities for
a host of high-volume, elective healthcare services, including
outpatient surgery, routine health screenings, and diagnostic imaging.
Despite a wealth of high quality physicians in New
Hampshire, "there can be a broad variation in cost for the same
services based on where they are performed – as much as 250
percent – for some procedures," said Douglas J. Wenners,
Anthem’s president and general manager. "If employees choose
to receive care in a lower-cost location, the city benefits through
lower claims costs."
The program targets high volume elective
procedures and tests, including carpal tunnel surgery, colonoscopy,
knee and shoulder arthroscopy and mammograms.
"While all city employees and their dependants are
automatically enrolled in the program, participation is completely
voluntary and completely confidential," Wenners said. "The incentive
program is location-based, not doctor-based, which means the city is
not asking employees to change doctors."
The program "is an important first step in
providing an avenue for employees to protect the great health benefits
they have against the rising cost of medical inflation," Gatsas said.
"The program benefits taxpayers by avoiding unnecessary costs within
the current healthcare system."
Employee response to the program "has been
extremely positive," said Jane Gile, Manchester’s human
Address: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New
Hampshire, 3000 Goffs Falls Rd., Manchester, NH 03103; (800) 874-7122, www.ehealthinsurance.com.