According to an announcement, WellChoice’s Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield subsidiaries are making the Direct POS product available to employers with 51 or more workers effective July 1, 2003. A similar POS product for employer groups two to 50 employees was launched in April 2003 with a coverage effective date of June 1, 2003 (see NewsDash – April 16 ).
Flexibility is a part of the Direct POS plan design. Members have the ability to utilize services on an in- or out-of-network basis. For in-network benefits, members have access to Empire’s HMO network of 141 hospitals and over 50,000 provider sites, plus an additional 50 hospitals and 10,000 provider sites in the contiguous counties of New Jersey and Connecticut.
In addition, Direct POS is an open access product that allows members to self-refer to any in-network provider. Employers have the flexibility of selecting any one of 14 co-pay and coinsurance options.