Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and Advocate Health Care launch high performing network

PR Newswire reports:

“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) and Downers Grove-based, Advocate Health Care, announced today the creation of a unique health plan that promotes high quality care at a low cost for patients. The plan, BlueCare Direct, is the first of its kind in Illinois for individuals and families, in particular, those who may be highly cost-sensitive healthcare consumers.

The new, high-performing network combines the strength, expertise and reputation of two of the state’s leading organizations. Advocate is the largest health system in Illinois and BCBSIL is the largest health insurer in the state with 8.1 million members. BlueCare Direct will be the insurer’s lowest-cost insurance offering, with low monthly premiums and low out-of-pocket costs, BCBSIL leaders say. It will be offered both on and off the Get Covered Illinois exchange, the official Health Insurance Marketplace for individuals and families. It will also be available for small group customers.

BlueCare Direct also provides patients with access to more than 4,000 Advocate primary care and specialty physicians across Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane and Will counties. The BlueCare Direct network includes over 250 sites of care, including nine hospitals and a children’s hospital with two campus locations, largest home health and hospice companies, and one of the region’s largest medical groups.

“Five years ago, BCBSIL and Advocate entered into a landmark arrangement that created the nation’s largest Accountable Care Organization (ACO) designed to improve care quality and cost of care. BlueCare Direct is a product that builds on the successes of that collaboration,” explained Opella Ernest, M.D., divisional senior vice president of Health Care Delivery and Chief Medical Officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois.

BlueCare Direct offers access to a vast network and flexibility with appointments. The member chooses a primary care physician (PCP) who’ll help navigate and coordinate the patient’s care and refer to appropriate specialists. BlueCare Direct patients will have access to the entire Advocate network of specialists, and can coordinate with their PCP for access to those specialists.

“The launch of BlueCare Direct reaffirms Advocate’s and BCBSIL’s steadfast commitment to offering the communities we serve a more affordable health care option,” said Lee Sacks, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer of Advocate Health Care. He added, “What we believe is most notable, though, is the level of care members will have access to through the plan.  Lower costs and high quality care can, in fact, go hand in hand. We are extremely pleased to be Blue Cross’ partner in this critically important and necessary initiative to improve care coordination and outcomes for our patients.”

BlueCare Direct is the newest innovative product BCBSIL will offer both on and off the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. Open enrollment for 2016 begins on November 1st and concludes on January 31st, 2016.

About Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) 
With over 8.1 million members, BCBSIL, a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Begun in 1936 in Chicago, BCBSIL remains member owned rather than publicly traded, and is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities, fostering greater access to care, and working to lower the overall cost of care while improving care quality and patient outcomes. For more information,

About Advocate Health Care
Advocate Health Care is the largest health system in Illinois and one of the largest health care providers in the Midwest. Advocate operates more than 250 sites of care and 12 hospitals, including five of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals, the state’s largest integrated children’s network, five Level I trauma centers (the state’s highest designation in trauma care), three Level II trauma centers, one of the area’s largest home health and hospice companies and one of the region’s largest medical groups. Advocate Health Care trains more primary care physicians and residents at its four teaching hospitals than any other health system in the state. As a not-for-profit, mission-based health system affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ, Advocate contributed $783 million in charitable care and services to communities across Chicagoland and Central Illinois in 2014.