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How Erlanger and BCBST worked together to lower ACA health plan premiums locally

Co-written with Gregg Gentry, chief administrative officer at Erlanger Health System.

Last fall, more than 35,000 people in the Chattanooga area enrolled in health plans on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace. Odds are, someone you know — a friend, your realtor, the server at your favorite restaurant or the freelance graphic designer who helped you launch your business — was among them.

This year, they have a new choice that provides the same benefits at lower prices. How’s it possible? Through a unique collaboration between a local hospital system and a hometown insurer. 

Combining our efforts

We represent Erlanger and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. And we’re excited to share the transformative impact of our partnership and collective commitment to our local community, highlighted by the introduction of Blue Network E on January 1.

This option is designed to enhance and expand access to high-quality care for residents in the Chattanooga area who purchase health care coverage on their own.

For Erlanger, joining Network E helps ensure more area residents can easily access providers and services  to help them improve and maintain health. Partnering with BlueCross for Network E is a move that significantly contributes to the well-being of the community, especially those who secure health insurance independently through the federally facilitated ACA Marketplace.

As the anchor health care system for Network E in the Chattanooga region, Erlanger is collaborating with BlueCross to expand a model successfully at work in Memphis and Nashville.

New Network E plans deliver access to Erlanger’s comprehensive care options at the lowest possible premiums.

With support from BlueCross health navigators and registered nurses, Network E members can find the best ways to access appropriate care from any Erlanger facility and provider. Erlanger is home to the region’s only children’s hospital, the only level one trauma center, a network of 26 primary care clinics, the most comprehensive specialty care services. It’s also a teaching hospital associated with The University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine – Chattanooga.

Moreover, all individual and small group BlueCross plans, including Network E, include access to no-cost virtual care options,  which include primary and specialty care as well as mental health support.

Looking forward, lowering costs

Slowing the rising cost of care is a constant challenge for insurers and care providers alike. It takes working together to find impactful and meaningful solutions.

The Network E partnership is another way BlueCross and Erlanger can deliver valuable savings to tens of thousands in our area who get health care coverage on their own.

This makes sure new and current BlueCross members — everyone from your Uber drive to your favorite farmer’s market vendor — can access Erlanger facilities and providers within their budget, fostering a community-centric, people-first approach to health care. 

About Scott Pierce, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

A photo of the authorScott is responsible for day-to-day management and operation of the state’s largest health insurer. He takes an active role in developing the long-range goals, plans and objectives of the organization, and leads operations teams including customer service, claims, clinical staff, provider networks, marketing, and information systems.

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