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Stanford Report, December 13, 2000
New enrollment period for Blue Cross of California members

The university will hold a special enrollment opportunity for Blue Cross members even though negotiations between the health plan and Sutter Health Systems are continuing, reports Benefits Manager Lauren Schlezinger.

BenefitSU, the university's new benefits service center, will send a letter and contingency enrollment form to all Blue Cross members this week. While selecting a new health plan is contingent on the outcome of the ongoing negotiations, Blue Cross members who wish to make any changes must return the form to BenefitSU by Dec. 27, says Schlezinger. If no agreement is reached by that date, the university will process the changes to new carriers effective Jan. 1.

Members who receive treatment through Sutter Health-affiliated providers, including Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Camino Medical Group and Alta Bates, will be affected if Sutter and Blue Cross fail to reach an agreement. Talks related to the next contract are focused on reimbursement rates for health care providers.

The special enrollment decision came about after Blue Cross sent a letter to participants dated Nov. 20, the day the university's Open Enrollment closed, informing them that if no contract agreement was reached by Dec. 15, they would be assigned to another medical group within the company's network, effective Jan. 1.

In the event that Sutter ends its contract with Blue Cross, people who receive treatment through Palo Alto Medical Foundation, for example, will be able to continue to use that facility by selecting PacifiCare or Blue Shield Triple Option, says Schlezinger.