NU Online News Service, Sept. 20, 10:35 a.m. – CaliforniaChoice, Orange, Calif., the operator of a health insurance “shopping mall” program for small employers, says workers who have signed up for health plans offered by Maxicare Health Plans Inc., Los Angeles, will be able to switch carriers Jan. 1, 2002.

CaliforniaChoice will stop enrolling members in Maxicare plans Nov. 1.

Workers enrolled in the CaliforniaChoice program can choose from a menu of coverage options from Maxicare and other providers. The future of coverage from Maxicare is uncertain because the company?fs California operations filed for bankruptcy in June, and the company as a whole remains under the supervision of the California Department of Managed Health Care, CaliforniaChoice says.

Company executives and regulators have been trying to find a buyer for Maxicare?fs remaining commercial operations, but, so far, none have emerged, CaliforniaChoice says.

For now, doctors, hospitals and pharmacies participating in the Maxicare provider networks are legally required to continue honoring their commitments to serve Maxicare members, CaliforniaChoice says.