|Implemented in this survey?|
California is currently experiencing rapid growth in the number of insurers and employers offering cross-border health plans to Mexican workers and immigrants, particularly in San Diego. Similar to traditional health insurance, a U.S. employer offers the plan to employees, typically as one of several choices. Employees receive information on the network of physicians and medical centers available in border areas. When they need care, employees and their family see a provider in Mexico.
Cross-border health plans meet three objectives: (1) they satisfy Mexican workers' demands for culturally-appropriate health care; (2) they lower employee turnover rates; and (3) they lower insurers' and employers' health care costs. Insurers, employers, and workers all benefit from lower health insurance premiums that are a direct result of cheaper health care services available in Mexico. Cross-border plans also make it possible for immigrant workers' families to obtain health care services in their home country.
Cross-border health plans have financial and non-financial incentives. Financially, they have the effect of lowering costs associated with premiums, reimbursement for health care services, and employee turnover. Non-financial incentives include higher employee satisfaction rates and productivity.
Payers (insurers), the private sector (employers), government, consumers/patients (Mexican immigrants and their families)
|Medienpräsenz||sehr gering||sehr hoch|
There was a change in government direction in 1998 , when the state of California first passed legislation allowing HMOs to offer cross-border health care plans. Recently, increased Mexican immigration to the United States and rising health care costs in the U.S. have provided insurers and employers with additional incentives to provide and expand cross-border health plans.
|Implemented in this survey?|
Cross-border plans have been available for decades, primarily through agricultural associations like the Western Growers Association and United Agribusiness League. It wasn't until California passed legislation in 1998 and 1999 legalizing and regulating the cross-border HMOs that the plans became more commercially available and popular among employers. Three companies now sell such plans: Blue Shield of California, Health Net of California and SIMNSA, a Mexico-based company. The Blue Cross and Health Net plans are available to U.S. or Mexican citizens who want to obtain care in Mexico, while SIMNSA sells only to Mexican citizens. Companies from the Hotel del Coronado to National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. offer employees the plans. Cross-border health plan availability is concentrated in San Diego.
The approach of the idea is described as:
renewed: Cross-border plans have been in existence for a long time. Employers and insurers have only recently begun to expand them.
The prevalence of cross-border services is unique to San Diego, but health plans say that based on the popularity there, they are considering expanding their services. SIMNSA would like to offer similar services in Texas or Arizona. Blue Shield of California's Access Baja plan has more than doubled its membership and says it would like to expand services to provide care for members in other parts of the state and services in other parts of Mexico. And Health Net of California said that based on its success, it plans to expand its services, such as selling plans directly to individuals. "I think we will see down the line a common set of standards that will apply to California and Mexico and make everyone feel more comfortable," said Ana Andrade, vice president of Latino programs Health Net of California. "We tend to see the border as a barrier. The border in this case is a bridge to care."
|California state legislature||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|CA Department of Managed Care||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Blue Shield of California||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Health Net of California||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|SIMNSA||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Mexican immigrants||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Privatwirtschaft, privater Sektor|
|Hotel de Coronado (San Diego)||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|BAE Systems Ship Repair||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|National Steel and Shipbuilding Co.||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
Legislation permitting cross-border plans was passed in 1998 - it has not been modified or changed since that time.
|California state legislature||sehr groß||kein|
|CA Department of Managed Care||sehr groß||kein|
|Blue Shield of California||sehr groß||kein|
|Health Net of California||sehr groß||kein|
|Mexican immigrants||sehr groß||kein|
|Privatwirtschaft, privater Sektor|
|Hotel de Coronado (San Diego)||sehr groß||kein|
|BAE Systems Ship Repair||sehr groß||kein|
|National Steel and Shipbuilding Co.||sehr groß||kein|
To date, there has been no opposition to cross-border health plans. Expansion of these plans will depend on insurers' and employers' continued desire to meet the health care demands of Mexican workers. It will also depend on the price of health care services in the U.S. versus Mexico.
California law does not hold Mexican health care providers to the same standards as California providers. The plans require that physicians be licensed in Mexico and meet any specialty board
requirements. The companies regularly audit the services, and patients can make complaints through California regulators. The California Department of Managed Health Care said it receives
few complaints about the plans.
"What I've noticed since 1992 is the tremendous improvement in the capability and modern aspect of the equipment and facilities in Tijuana," said Tom Fawcett, director of human relations for National Steel and Shipbuilding Co., which provides a cross-border option for its employees. "It's comparable to what you'd find facility-wise here."
Some health plans said that by requiring a high standard of care from their providers, they've raised the standard of acceptable care in Mexico. Additionally, the cross-border plans are providing coverage for many Mexican citizens who did not have coverage, namely Mexicans who work in the U.S.
Abschlussevaluation (intern), Abschlussevaluation (extern)
According to employers, insurers, and the California Department of Managed Care, there have been few complaints about cross-border health plans. A formal evaluation of cross-border health plans has yet to be conducted, however.
Cross-border health plans have successfully lowered health care premiums for employers and workers. They have also lowered reimbursement costs for insurers. Acess has been improved, and the quality of care has been improved in Mexican border towns as well.
|Qualität||kaum Einfluss||starker Einfluss|
|Gerechtigkeit||System weniger gerecht||System gerechter|
|Kosteneffizienz||sehr gering||sehr hoch|
· California Health Line: "More California Employers Offering Cross-Border Health Plans." October 18, 2005. At www.californiahealthline.org.
· The San Diego Union Tribune: "Cross-Border Health Insurance is a Hit with Insurers and Workers." October 16, 2005.
Anke Therese Schulz (UCSF) and Carol Medlin (Institute for Global Health, UC Berkeley and UCSF)