Officials at the California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento, approved a proposal requiring contracted HMOs to provide more data on costs and quality and beef up efforts to offer medical coverage in every county. The pension fund's health panel also approved a controversial plan to give insurers longer-term contracts, which could lead to more predictable premium rates but also could tie CalPERS' hands in certain ways. Amid spiraling medical costs, CalPERS has cut the number of HMOs with which it contracts to three from 13 a few years ago on the bet that closer relationships with select carriers will help improve quality and reduce costs. As part of that strategy, the health panel cleared the way for CalPERS to negotiate a three-year contract with the largest of its insurers, Blue Shield of California, San Francisco. The panel's recommendations must be approved by CalPERS' full board. The pension fund expects to spend $3.3 billion this year on healthcare for its 1.2 million members. -- by Laura B. Benko
CalPERS seeking more from contracted HMOs
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