Ten major corporations are expected to announce this week that they have formed the first nationwide employer healthcare purchasing coalition.
The National HMO Purchasing Coa-Purchasers/payers
lition will contract with HMOs in 27 areas, covering states and large cities, according to a source close to the proj-ect who asked not to be named.
Eight of the companies are American Express, IBM, International Telephone & Telegraph, Marriott International, Merrill Lynch, Nabisco, Pfizer and Sears, the source said.
The goal of the coalition is "to provide medical services of the highest value, as measured by quality and cost, to members' employees," he said. No further details were available, pending the formal announcement by the coalition, the source said.
The companies sent HMOs requests for proposals on May 1 and are reviewing them, said LouAnn Cash, vice president of benefits planning at American Express. She refused further comment.
William M. Mercer, the employee benefits consulting firm, is helping the coalition review proposals, the source said.
The coalition will not charge a membership fee, contrary to published reports about the project, Cash said. She declined to give further details.
Coalition members provide group health insurance for 600,000 employees and dependents.