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Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aurora Health Care form joint health insurance company to offer network plan

Companies will form Wisconsin Collaborative Insurance Company to offer commercial health insurance called Well Priority.

Susan Morse, Managing Editor

Aurora Health Care (Handout)Aurora Health Care (Handout)

In a joint partnership, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Aurora Health Care will form the Wisconsin Collaborative Insurance Company, the companies have announced.

In the latest provider and payer collaboration, the Wisconsin Collaborative Insurance Company will offer commercial health insurance called Well Priority through a network of doctors and hospitals.

Well Priority beneficiaries will have access to care in 45 Wisconsin counties, representing three-quarters of the state's population, Anthem said. The  plan will offer national and international in-network coverage for providers participating in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Blue Card Program.

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[Also: Anthem Blue Cross, provider group launch ACO in Silicon Valley]

Well Priority product sales are expected to begin in mid-2016 with most new group plans starting January 1, 2017. Initial sales will be focused on medium to large-size employer groups. Product details and plan options are currently being finalized.

Anthem is calling Well Priority a patient-focused plan, in which in-network beneficiaries will have access to around-the-clock care and treatment options, including a 24-7 nurseline and liveHealth Online telehealth services.

There will be on-site nursing options for large employers and facilitated cross-system referrals between providers and hospitals participating in the Well Priority product, Anthem said.

Doctors and hospitals in the network will use electronic medical records so that a patient's information travels with them.

The nonprofit Aurora Health Care offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

[Also: Aurora Health Care, Humana partner on accountable care]

Health systems participating in Blue Priority include: Aspirus, Bellin Health, Children's Hospital, Gundersen Health System, ProHealth Care, ThedaCare, UW Health, UnityPoint Health - Meriter in Madison, and select clinics and physicians to ensure access across the entire geography covered by the network.

"For years now, Blue Priority has been creating the right kind of health care competition by advancing issues of cost and quality," said Larry Schreiber, recent president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin and CEO of the joint venture. "Now, through Well Priority, we are working to further simplify health care so our members can focus on their health and live well."

Twitter: @SusanJMorse