In its seemingly successful pitch for the job of managing state employee health plans, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana touted a number of perks it offers members.
The perks for members of the company’s My Health, My Way include a video library of educational videos, recipes from Louisiana chef John Folse and discounts on gym membership, sneakers, diet programs, hearing aids, vitamins, aromatherapy and organic products.
The voluminous submission by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana dwarfed the competitors’ proposals. As the lowest bidder, Blue Cross and Blue Shield stands to receive $37.8 million a year to serve as administrator of state Office of Group Benefits health plans covering more than 200,000.
Humana sought $49.1 million a year and United Healthcare wanted $40.3 million, based on the current number of enrollees.
The Jindal administration refused to discuss the proposals Monday, including what changes, if any, are in store for state workers should Blue Cross and Blue Shield take over beginning Jan. 31.
Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater’s spokesman, Michael DiResto, said it would be inappropriate for Rainwater to comment since Humana or United Healthcare could appeal the selection.
Catherine Carlock Simpson, spokeswoman for the Office of Group Benefits, also declined comment, as did Robin Mayhall, spokeswoman for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.
“As the vendor in our relationship with OGB, we need to pass these questions along to them,” Mayhall said in an email.
The hiring of Blue Cross and Blue Shield still must be approved by the state Civil Service Commission, since more than 150 state government jobs would be eliminated as a result of the contract. The loss of jobs is where much of the savings would materialize.
The contract would end the long-standing practice of state employees handling health plans for the state workforce, retirees and dependents.
The Office of Group Benefits provides health and life insurance to about a quarter-million current and retired state employees and their dependents.
Two of the office’s plans are the PPO, or preferred provider organization, and the HMO, or health maintenance organization.
The PPO currently is managed by state workers at the Office of Group Benefits and covers 62,010 insured lives. A PPO is a group of doctors, hospitals and others providing health care at reduced rates.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana currently administers the HMO, which places patients under the care of a primary care physician. The HMO covers nearly 165,000 insured lives.
Under the Jindal administration’s plan, the company would pick up the PPO and continue administering the HMO.
Humana, United Healthcare and Blue Cross and Blue Shield made their pitches to the Jindal administration by describing their companies’ backgrounds, answering numerous questions and filling out a financial quotation form.
An evaluation committee of high-ranking state employees sifted through the proposals.
For the 2013 calendar year, the companies outlined what they wanted for administering the HMO, PPO, other plans and disease management.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield wanted $23.50 per month, per employee to manage the HMO and PPO. Humana wanted $25. United Healthcare wanted $24.19.
More disparity was evident in the quotes for disease management, which assigns a nurse health coach to an employee or dependent with certain health conditions such as heart problems.
Humana wanted $88 per participant, per month while Blue Cross and Blue Shield sought $24 and United Healthcare quoted $28.50.
Each time, Blue Cross and Blue Shield offered the lowest price and touted a history of working with government units.