Empire Blue Cross & Castlight Health Introduce Reference Based Benefits

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 10, 2013--

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.

About Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Serving New Yorkers for over 75 years, Empire BlueCross BlueShield is the largest health insurer in New York supporting nearly six million members and more than 38,000 business, union and small employers in New York. Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire) is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Inc., and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO is the trade name of Empire HealthChoice HMO, Inc., independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, serving residents and businesses in the 28 eastern and southeastern counties of New York State. Additional information about Empire is available at www.empireblue.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinInEmpire, or visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin

About Castlight Health

Castlight Health enables employers, their employees, and health plans to take control of health care costs and improve care. Named #1 on The Wall Street Journal’s list of “The Top 50 Venture-Backed Companies” for 2011 and one of Dow Jones’ 50 Most Investment-Worthy Technology Start-Ups, Castlight Health helps the country’s self-insured employers and health plans empower consumers to shop for health care. Castlight Health is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by prominent investors including Allen & Company, Cleveland Clinic, Maverick Capital, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Oak Investment Partners, Redmile Group, T. Rowe Price, U.S. Venture Partners, Venrock, Wellcome Trust and two unnamed mutual funds. For more information, please visit our web site at http://www.castlighthealth.com or call (415) 829-1400.

    CONTACT: Media Contacts:

Empire BlueCross BlueShield

Sally Kweskin, 720-373-4836



    SOURCE: Empire BlueCross BlueShield 
Copyright Business Wire 2013