- Anthem Blue Cross has joined forces with seven competing health systems in California to offer a health plan for employers in Southern California. Called Vivity, the plan includes both Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the UCLA Health System.
- The Anthem HMO will compete directly with Kaiser and Barry Arbuckle, Memorial-Care CEO, said the plan "will have a price point similar to Kaiser or better." According to Vivity, it will be about 10% cheaper than Kaiser's standard available HMO.
- The hospital partners and Anthem will share any profits and losses from the joint venture. Vivity will include 6,000 doctors and 14 hospitals between the seven health systems.
Anthem, a unit of WellPoint, is the state's largest for-profit health insurer. Kaiser, meanwhile, serves over 7 million Californians and had a 40% share of the state insurance market for employers and individuals in 2011. The company's model of running its own physician offices lets it coordinate care and control costs along the continuum of care—precisely what Anthem is attempting to do. The Vivity HMO-ACO hybrid will cover not only the seven associated hospitals but also all of their affiliated physicians offices, clinics, surgery centers and outpatient facilities.
Still, Kaiser is a tough competitor. According to Steve Valentine, president of the Camden Group, a healthcare consulting firm in El Segundo, "Anthem is stringing together a bunch of hospital brands with good reputations and strong facilities. But we don't know if it will really save any money or if the public will like it."
And Kaiser, for their part, doesn't appear worried. "Our system is not just stitched together from existing parts," said Peter Andrade, a Kaiser senior vice president. "[It] will be difficult for others to copy."