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NEW HEALTHPOOL INSURANCE PROGRAM FOR COLUMBUS AND CENTRAL OHIO OFFERS BIG-BUSINESS BUYING POWER FOR SMALL, MEDIUM EMPLOYERS THROUGH BLUE CROSS & BLUE SHIELD OF OHIO

 COLUMBUS, June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- In a first-of-its-kind approach to managed competition, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio (BCBSO) has created a new network, HealthPool, in Greater Columbus and Central Ohio to increase health insurance buying power for small and mid-sized businesses.
 HealthPool quotes are available now in Franklin County and 18 other Central Ohio counties, or nearly one-fourth of all counties in the state. Coverage begins Aug. 1.
 "In addition to creating the potential for enormous buying power, HealthPool rates are guaranteed for the first year and, on average, rate increases will be held to 10 percent or less during a company's renewal year," said Kent W. Clapp, BCBSO president and chief operating officer.
 "The concept is one of small businesses joining together to get big- business price breaks on health insurance. A large group carries more weight in the marketplace than a small group," he said.
 "From an insurance standpoint, it means spreading risk from smaller groups to a larger group and reducing the cost of claims processing for a single group rather than several small groups."
 HealthPool is unique because qualified companies with from one to 150 employees are not required to join an organization or pay membership fees or dues.
 As for the absence of dues or fees, Clapp said, other small business health insurance programs in the state usually require member businesses to pay initiation and/or annual association or membership fees to a sponsoring organization.
 Not so with HealthPool. The program is sponsored by BCBSO, Ohio's oldest and largest health insurer, which is pooling small and mid-sized businesses to establish a large insured pool.
 And it is offering a wide range of benefit plans, including:
 -- Four Super Blue managed-care options;
 -- Two HMO Health Ohio options;
 -- A traditional indemnity plan;
 -- Two dental plan options, available to groups of 10 to 150 employees.
 -- Well-child care and prescription benefits are included.
 -- COBRAServe to help employers with regulations for continuation of health coverage -- included at no extra cost for groups of 20 or more.
 -- Life and accidental death and disability plans are also available.
 Comprehensive Super Blue programs offer substantial incentives for policyholders to use network hospitals in the 19-county area, and more than 100 network hospitals statewide.
 "This means a variety of insurance products is now available at affordable prices to small and medium-sized employers across one-fourth of the state through a single program," said Clapp.
 "Smaller businesses are the backbone of the economy, yet it is among smaller employers that we find the greatest numbers of uninsured.
 "A success of managed competition in other parts of Ohio has been to reduce the cost of health insurance, making it available to more people, and holding down the percentage of uninsured."
 He noted the idea of managed competition began in Northeastern Ohio, where it has become an object of national focus, and has spread to other parts of the state.
 One of the notable benefits has been that Ohio ranks 40th nationally in the percentage of uninsured. And Cleveland, where managed competition was launched, has the lowest percentage of uninsured among the state's largest cities.
 In addition to Franklin County, HealthPool is available in the following other counties (alphabetical listing): Athens, Coshocton, Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette, Hocking, Holmes, Knox, Licking, Madison, Marion, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Perry, Pickaway, Ross, and Union.
 -0- 6/28/93
 /CONTACT: David Eden of William Silverman & Company, 216-696-7750, for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio/


CO: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio ST: Ohio IN: INS SU: PDT

KL -- CL001 -- 6070 06/28/93 08:03 EDT
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Date:Jun 28, 1993
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