VantageBlue aligns with employer goals of maintaining and improving employees’ health
PROVIDENCE, RI – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) today announced the introduction of a new health plan, called VantageBlue, to the large employer market. VantageBlue allows employers to keep their workforce healthy while keeping costs low with innovative features such as $0 copays for all Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) visits and $2 copays for select diabetes, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) drugs.
“BCBSRI understands that a top concern of employers is to improve the health of their employees and keep costs low, which are two strengths of VantageBlue,” said Jim Gallagher, vice president of product development. “Wellness programs have emerged at the forefront of employers’ long-term strategy for controlling costs, which is why we’ve designed VantageBlue with features that encourage employees to proactively take control of their health. With VantageBlue, employees can join a gym for a discounted price and even receive a cash reward for completing an electronic personal health assessment.”
In addition to low copays to help employees manage chronic conditions, VantageBlue also offers $0 copays for annual foot and eye exams for employees with diabetes, and low copay options for physical, orthopedic and speech therapy. Additionally, VantageBlue covers up to 20 chiropractic visits and gives employees access to preventive education courses free of charge, such as diabetes education, nutritional counseling, and smoking cessation counseling. BCBSRI also provides employers with riders for vision hardware, acupuncture and hearing aids.
“We recognize that many Rhode Islanders are struggling with maintaining chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma and COPD among others,” said Gallagher. “In fact, in Rhode Island in 2011, the diabetes rate was 7.4 percent, up from 5.4 percent in 1995.  VantageBlue provides employees with the tools they need to better manage chronic conditions and also helps to eliminate the financial barriers often associated with coping with certain ailments. As a result, they will be healthier individuals, require fewer medical services, and help keep costs low for themselves and their employer.”
VantageBlue has six basic plan designs with various options for deductibles that range from $250 to $2,000 for an individual plan and $500 to $4,000 for a family plan. The plan encourages employees to see a provider at a BCBSRI-designated PCMH with $0 copays for all visits. By seeking care at a PCMH, employees maintain an ongoing relationship with a primary care provider who leads a team of healthcare professionals in building an integrated and proactive plan designed to improve health. PCMHs can be especially helpful for employees managing complex medical conditions because this highly focused care model integrates every aspect of the patient's care from education regarding treatment options to behavioral health and nutrition.
VantageBlue is available to large employers for enrollment now with an effective date of October 1, 2012. Rhode Island employers interested in more information may call their broker or BCBSRI sales representative for more details.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state’s leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit BCBSRI.com and follow us on Twitter @BCBSRI.
 Mercer. (2011). Employers accelerate efforts to bring health benefit costs under control. Retrieved from http://www.mercer.com/press-releases/national-survey-employer-sponsored-health-plans
 Donoghue, K. (2011, July 8). Rhode Island 10th- Least Obese State. Providence Business News. Retrieved from PBN.com