Good news, for a change

New documents out today show that the State Health Plan and Blue Cross have agreed to improve cost controls in their contract.

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Laura Leslie

Most of the time, when formerly confidential documents are made public, it's a pretty safe bet someone's going to look bad.  But that wasn't the case today, when Blue Cross released its contract and other documents related to its relationship with the State Health Plan.  

The contract was released in 2009 with a few redactions. Today's release removed the redactions, revealing nothing terribly interesting in the contract that we didn't know two years ago.
The interesting parts were the amendments the two sides have agreed to since the 2009 release. One amendment excludes some "overhead" costs from inclusion in the State Health Plan "cost plus" contract.  As of July 2010, the insurer can no longer bill the state for a share of its expenses for lobbying, bonuses for top executives, advertising, events, or donations.  
Another amendment puts a much more solid cap on the growth of the plan's cost, year over year. And yet another sets up monthly monitoring and reconciliation between estimated and actual administrative costs. 
It's fair to note that Senate Bill 265, currently on the governor's desk, would force Blue Cross to open the contract anyway, so today's release could be viewed as a pre-emptive move to save face.


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