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L.A. officials look to restore some access to UCLA, Cedars doctors

October 02, 2012|By Chad Terhune
  • L.A. officials consider changes to their proposed health plans amid employee complaints about losing access to UCLA and Cedars-Sinai doctors.
L.A. officials consider changes to their proposed health plans amid employee… (Stefano Paltera/Los Angeles…)

A health-benefits panel at the city of Los Angeles recommended restoring some access to UCLA and Cedars-Sinai doctors in response to worker complaints.

At a meeting Tuesday, the city's joint labor-management benefits committee approved a proposal to reintroduce the full network of medical providers under its Anthem Blue Cross PPO plan and add a more expensive Anthem HMO plan starting in July that includes physicians affiliated with Cedars-Sinai and UCLA.

The city panel continues to proceed with its earlier decision to adopt an Anthem Blue Cross Select HMO plan that excludes all UCLA and Cedars-Sinai medical groups. The city estimates that about 2,200 workers and family members currently enrolled in the Anthem HMO would have to change doctors.

City officials said it's unclear exactly how much in additional premiums employees would have to pay to get the full HMO network.

Further details and a final decision on these issues may not come until next week when the Los Angeles City Council is expected to take up this matter.

Last week, numerous city workers complained about losing access to their UCLA and Cedars-Sinai doctors. The city opted for Anthem's narrow network to save $7.6 million in annual premiums next year.

The city said restoring the full PPO network, effective Jan. 1, would eliminate about $500,000 of those savings and Anthem offered to cover half of that. The city committee also proposed changes in employee dental coverage to achieve additional savings.

Anthem's narrow network doesn't exclude Cedars-Sinai and UCLA hospitals; only their affiliated medical groups.

About 32,000 city employees and dependents with Kaiser Permanente wouldn't be affected by these changes.


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