HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care industry intelligence, finds that California's major health plans are offering a wide range of new options to compete for members in the state's expanding small-group market. The sector includes 1.2 million businesses, 500,000 of which don't provide medical coverage to employees, according to the latest California Health Plan Analysis.

"The health plans are taking a variety of tactics -- from offering many choices, like Health Net, to selling a simplified package, like Blue Cross of California," said John Leighty, California market analyst. "PacifiCare's small-group sales have jumped 140% since it introduced its SignatureFreedom self directed health plan in mid-2003. Clearly, all of the health plans see this as a hot market."

  Other Health Plan News in California:   * HMOs are introducing more flexible benefits and rate structures to     compete with less-regulated PPO designs.   * California HMOs reported healthy profits in 2004.   * PacifiCare Health Systems says it will participate in competitive     bidding to offer prescription drug plans to fee-for-service Medicare     members nationwide in 2006.    About HealthLeaders-InterStudy 

HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a newly formed company of Decision Resources, Inc. (http://www.decisionresources.com/), is the authoritative source for managed care data, analysis, and news. For more information, please visit both Web sites at http://www.healthleaders.com/ and http://www.interstudypublications.com/.

All company, brand, or product names contained in this document may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

  For more information, contact:    Elizabeth Marshall    Decision Resources    781-296-2563    emarshall@dresources.com 

SOURCE: Decision Resources, Inc.

CONTACT: Elizabeth Marshall of Decision Resources, +1-781-296-2563,
emarshall@dresources.com

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