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Blue Shield's New Products Provide Comprehensive Coverage, Flexibility and Affordability

New benefit designs and enhancements expand product lines

December 5, 2005


Responding to demand for affordable health coverage options, Blue Shield of California and the Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Company are introducing several new health plans and expanding current benefits effective January 2006. These new and enhanced HMO, PPO, and point-of-service (POS) plans feature flexible employee contribution levels provided through a variety of copayment and deductible options.

"At a time when employer groups and consumers face rising health care costs, Blue Shield is expanding its portfolio to provide consumers with affordable choices," says Paul Markovich, senior vice president and chief executive of Blue Shield's Large Group Business Unit.

For the mid- and large-group markets, Blue Shield of California is expanding the Access+ HMO plan portfolio to include copay amounts for doctor visits that range from $15 to $30 for additional plans. Various options are available for inpatient hospital care, including $250 or $500 admission charges, 10- to 20-percent copayments and zero to $1,500 per-member deductibles. Some plans feature copayment maximums that accrue on a per-member basis.

Changes made by Blue Shield to some PPO and POS plan designs for the mid- and large-group markets include calendar-year deductibles and copayment maximums that accrue on a per-member basis for Shield Spectrum PPO 2000 70/50 and Shield Spectrum PPO 3000 80/60. Added Advantage POS 250 100/80/50, Blue Shield's new POS plan, provides PPO and out-of-network benefits while offering per-member deductible and copay maximums. All Blue Shield POS products give members the freedom to opt out of their HMO network and select providers from a wide selection of doctors and hospitals within or outside the PPO network.

Blue Shield is expanding its Active Start portfolio to include Active Start Plan 25*. This plan features no medical deductible, low copayments for preventive care, generic drug and office visits, in one PPO plan. The plan provides coverage for individuals only and does not include maternity benefits

Another addition to the Individual and Family Plan (IFP) portfolio of products is Blue Shield's new Access+ Value HMO* plan. This plan is designed to provide all the benefits of a traditional full-service HMO plan with access to a wide range of routine and preventive care services for a small copayment, without having to meet a deductible. Access+ Value HMO offers members access to Blue Shield's full HMO provider network of more than 25,000 doctors and 280 hospitals throughout California.

"Our plan offerings for individuals and families emphasize Blue Shield's commitment to providing affordable, quality health care options to our members," said Mitch Ross, vice president, sales distribution, for Blue Shield's Individual, Small Group and Government Business Group.

Blue Shield is launching two new families of dental PPO plans for the mid- and large group markets: DPPO Smile Spectrum with eight plan options, and DPPO Smile Spectrum Premier, which provides 24 different plans. Both plans offer employers several deductible level options, annual maximums, optional orthodontia benefits for children and adults, out-of-network reimbursement level, and no waiting periods for covered services.

"Our strong dental network and new Blue Shield dental plans reinforce the advantages of single-source benefit management in conjunction with health coverage," said Bob Clifton, vice president of Blue Shield's Ancillary Business Unit. "Our new dental plans provide employer groups with the ability to select the plan options they need to achieve the right balance between cost and coverage."

Detailed descriptions of all Blue Shield of California products and provider networks can be found on the company's website,

* Underwritten by Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Company.

About Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Company

An Independent Licensee of the BlueShield Association, Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Company (Blue Shield Life) is an independent licensee of the Blue Shield Association. Blue Shield Life provides a range of insurance options for Blue Shield of California group, individual and family members. Blue Shield Life has grown by offering competitive group and individual term life, accidental death and dismemberment, vision, and stop loss-with Blue Shield health plans or on a stand-alone basis. In 1986, two short-term health products, Option One and Option Twelve, were launched and both policies remain among the leading products of their kind in California. Blue Shield Life, headquartered in San Francisco, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Blue Shield of California. More information is available at or by calling (800) 443-8284.

Background on Blue Shield of California

Founded in 1939, Blue Shield of California is one of the state's leading health care companies. Headquartered in San Francisco, the not-for-profit corporation has more than 3.3 million members, 4,300 employees and more than 20 office locations throughout California.

Contact your local agent or broker for more information about Blue Shield products and services, or visit the Blue Shield website at