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EMPLOYERS ASSOCIATION AND PRUDENTIAL ANNOUNCE UNIQUE HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM

 EMPLOYERS ASSOCIATION AND PRUDENTIAL
 ANNOUNCE UNIQUE HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM
 MINNEAPOLIS, June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The Employers Association of Minnesota and The Prudential Insurance Company of America today announced the formation of a new and unique health insurance program designed to improve the quality of health care while reducing its cost.
 Thomas Ebert, president of the Employers Association, said: "The purpose of this program is to create the right kind of incentives among health care providers, relating not just to price but quality as well. In that way, we hope to get structural reform in the health care system, not just cost-shifting against those in the community who lack our bargaining clout. In effect, we are change agents, acting on behalf of the entire community."
 The program, which involves a three-year commitment by all parties, will save the average insured employer member of the coalition 34 percent and the average self-funded member more than 20 percent of the projected cost of health insurance over the three-year period, with even greater savings for individual companies.
 Self-funded employers will benefit from the effects of group purchasing on stop loss and administrative fees. The largest savings, however, will come from three-year trend guarantees that reflect the lower claims cost derived from providing the most appropriate and effective care.
 These saving goals will be reached by participating providers agreeing to use practice guidelines or parameters -- treatment indicators designed to ensure appropriate and necessary health care -- and measure the outcomes of health care treatments. By eliminating unnecessary and inappropriate care, and by increasing the effectiveness of the care actually given, the program hopes to achieve long-term stability in health care costs.
 The Employers Association Health Care Purchasers Coalition, currently consisting of 363 companies, worked with William M. Mercer Incorporated to develop the program. Initially, the program will provide health insurance and care to more than 160,000 employees and dependents. The implementation date is Jan. 1, 1993.
 Greg Scott, vice president in charge of Prudential's North Central Group Operations, said: "This represents a unique opportunity for us to expand our presence in the dynamic Minnesota health care marketplace -- not only on the traditional basis of price but also, in collaboration with our partners in the health care community, by providing the highest quality health care available.
 "With that thought in mind, we have constructed, and will continue to build, a foundation of high quality providers -- providers who have a reputation for providing the highest quality care and who have a long-term commitment to quality care. We will add the administrative resources and national managed care programs of one of the largest and most stable insurance companies in America," Scott said.
 Included in the provider network are such diverse health care providers as HealthEast, Fairview Hospital and Health Care Services, North Memorial Medical Center, Preferred One PPO network, the University of Minnesota Clinical Associates, the University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinic, and physicians affiliated with these organizations. The Mayo Clinic will also participate as a member of Prudential's nationwide institutes of quality program.
 Other providers who are willing and qualified to participate in a program designed to measure and improve quality on a continuing basis will be added before Jan. 1, 1993. As soon as the information on their use of practice guidelines and outcomes of their treatments becomes available, participating providers will be expected to answer questions from individual patients as to their comparative effectiveness in providing care. The program is designed to educate and empower consumers of health care.
 Employees will find the Prudential network comparable in size and equal in access to other networks. Those who might be changing providers will do so with the assurance that the program was designed to improve quality and not merely to contain costs.
 Dr. Ed Ciriacy, president of the University of Minnesota Clinical Associates, said: "This will be the largest, ongoing collaborative quality program in the history of Minnesota. Health care providers are scientifically oriented. They want to know more about the quality and effectiveness of their care. Now, because of this unique program, we will have access to the kind of information which will make continuous quality improvement a realistic goal in our health care practices."
 Scott added: "We think this program is unique. There is nothing quite like it anywhere in the country -- a health insurance program that is dedicated to reducing cost by improving the quality of care. We fully support it and are committed to seeing that it remains the highest quality, most competitive product in the marketplace."
 -0- 6/4/92
 /CONTACT: George Morrow of William M. Mercer Incorporated, 612-338-5440, or Greg Scott of Prudential, 612-349-2035/ CO: The Prudential Insurance Company of America; The Employers
 Association of Minnesota ST: Minnesota IN: INS SU: JVN


AL -- MN011 -- 7027 06/04/92 12:05 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 4, 1992
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