Empire BlueCross BlueShield and Castlight Health Introduce Reference Based Benefits

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Innovative Benefit Design Enables Employers to Control Heath Care Costs While Empowering Employees to Better Manage Their Care

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June 26, 2013 
Media Contacts: 
 
Sally Kweskin,
(720) 373-4836
sally.kweskin@empireblue.com
 
@Empirebcbs 
 
 
June, 26, 2013 – New York, NY – Empire BlueCross BlueShield and Castlight Health, a leader in health care transparency, is announcing a joint offering for employers called Reference Based Benefits. Innovative health care benefit designs are an important component of controlling costs while increasing access to quality care. The new offering combines Castlight’s consumer-focused health care transparency solution with Empire’s focus on customer service, broad provider networks and efficient administrative processes.  
Wide price variations often exist for the same health care services, even within the same geography and same network. However, higher prices do not necessarily correspond to better quality care. This creates an opportunity to reduce costs without sacrificing quality. With Reference Based Benefits, employers can set a benefit limit, or “reference price” for specific types of services covered under their group health plans administered by Empire. Using the new consumer-friendly tools provided through the Castlight and Empire collaboration, covered employees can easily find high-quality providers that provide the services for a fee that is at or below the reference price.  
“The high cost of medical care is one of the biggest challenges facing US businesses today. While some companies are evaluating whether to continue to offer health benefits, the most innovative of them are looking for new solutions to control health care costs, while still preserving employee choice and flexibility,” said Giovanni Colella, MD, CEO and co-founder of Castlight Health. “Reference Based Benefits offers a new way for individuals to become smarter health care consumers and help control health care costs.”  
Reference Based Benefits are highly configurable based upon an employer’s needs. They can be dynamically tailored to specific companies in New York, including variations in which services are included in the program and the reference price for each. With Empire’s broad provider networks and administrative capabilities and Castlight’s comprehensive health care transparency solution, Reference Based Benefits are easy for employers to create and maintain.  
“We have found that customers want transparency; however, Reference Based Benefits bring it to the next stage to help drive a ‘call to action.’ Coupling transparency with benefit design heightens the shopping experience and encourages greater consumer interaction,” said Brian Griffin, President and CEO, Empire BlueCross BlueShield. “Our collaboration with Castlight is taking innovative benefit design to the next level. We are able to provide our customers with benefits that can move the needle on cost and quality.”  
Reference Based Benefits options are available immediately with implementation to begin for launches in the first quarter of 2014.  

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