Blue Shield of California Won't Contract With Insurer-Owned IPA

Blue Shield of California is "shunning" 2,300 physicians with Monarch HealthCare, an Irvine, Calif.-based IPA in the process of being acquired by another payor, according to an American Medical News report.

In the summer, Monarch HealthCare agreed to turn over its management to Optum, the business platform of UnitedHealth Group. That acquisition is still pending, but Blue Shield of California said it won't contract with Monarch if it is finalized.

A Blue Shield spokesperson said "if Monarch is acquired by United, Blue Shield would be contributing to United's bottom line," according to the report. The spokesperson also said, "Blue Shield of California is a not-for-profit dedicated to providing affordable healthcare to all Californians. Therefore, it is unacceptable that we would contribute to a for-profit competitor's shareholders," according to the report.

Blue Shield contracts with Monarch will continue through 2011.

Related Articles on Hospitals, Physicians and Payors:

UnitedHealth Group Buys 2,300-Physician Practice in California
The Quiet Takeover: Insurers Buying Physicians and Hospitals
UnitedHealth: Rural Areas Face Decreasing Access to Healthcare

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