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OHIO RETIREMENT SYSTEMS CHOOSE "SUPER BLUE" AS PREFERRED PROVIDER ORGANIZATION IN ONE OF BIGGEST HEALTH CARE DEALS

 CLEVELAND, Dec. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Four of the five Ohio public retirement systems, in what is being called one of the largest health- care deals ever in Ohio, have chosen Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio (BCBSO) as one of their two suppliers of managed-care services.
 The retirement systems chose BCBSO's Super Blue, a preferred- provider organization (PPO), which, along with other cost-saving strategies, has saved BCBSO customers nearly $200 million over the last six years. When finalized, the systems' two contracts will cover approximately 70,000 retirees and dependents under age 65.
 The four retirement systems are expected to save about $60 million in 33 months under the plans, according to a spokesman for the retirement systems.
 "First, the State of Ohio signed a three-year contract for its current employees with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio for Super Blue that will save taxpayers between $18 million and $26 million," said John Burry Jr., BCBSO chairman and chief executive officer. "Now, the retirement systems have selected Super Blue and are looking at savings about three times as big, depending on the enrollment. Clearly, Super Blue is the best and most cost-effective managed-care product in Ohio."
 The state's retirement systems are following a national trend by converting from traditional indemnity health plans, in which a patient can visit any hospital or doctor, to managed-care plans, in which patients are directed to certain providers.
 Super Blue was selected from among three finalists on the recommendation of the retirement systems' benefits consultant, the Wyatt Co. of Washington, D.C. Seven companies were solicited originally.
 Previously, the systems paid all medical bills and had few cost controls under a plan administered by Aetna Life Insurance Company, which will remain as the other vendor. The systems will remain self- insured, which means they will pay their own bills.
 Under the new PPO plan, health-care providers will discount the cost of medical care for their clients in return for increased patient volume. Patients are encouraged to visit doctors and hospitals in the Super Blue PPO network, but may visit those outside the network at a lower reimbursement level.
 Those not covered by the new contracts are people living outside of Ohio, and members of the School Employees Retirement System (SERS), which is now soliciting bids for a supplier of its own managed-care plan. Retirees 65 and older, who are insured by Medicare, may use the new plans only as a secondary insurer.
 In 1991, the five retirement systems spent $587.3 million on medical care for nearly 286,000 retired public workers and their dependents.
 The contract's dollar value will depend on how many retired police, public school employees and other public employees enroll in each PPO. Implementation is scheduled for April 1.
 -0- 12/28/92
 /CONTACT: David Eden or Paula Slimak, both of William Silverman & Co., 216-696-7750; for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio/


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

KK -- CL004 -- 0021 12/28/92 11:12 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 28, 1992
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