Banner Health, AZ Blues Partner in Medicare Health Plan

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , September 4, 2012

Lehn said the two also have another project in the works. The Arizona Blues recently announced plans to launch BlueAlliance, a Banner Health Network–aligned commercial health plan that will offer lower premiums by limiting the network to Banner's 2,500 healthcare providers in the Maricopa County area.

Banner Health also partners with other health plans, although the joint venture is the only relationship that involves ownership. It has teamed with Aetna in an accountable care organization that offers a shared-risk product, Aetna Whole Health, which covers coordinated care only at Banner Health's Arizona facilities. The incentive for employees is reduced cost of care. The ACO will base compensation and rewards on reduced hospital readmissions, expanded access to primary care physicians, and increased use of preventive screenings. The effort builds on the health system's extensive investment in electronic medical records and health IT.

BCBSAZ is also interested in "opportunities to work collaboratively with other hospital systems in the state," Sandy Gibson, executive vice president of internal operations for BCBSAZ, says.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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