NU Online News Service, March 27, 2003, 12:21 p.m. EST – The Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa, will offer a tiered hospital network to self-funded employer health plans in Louisiana.

Principal is using cost and quality data to divide Louisiana hospitals into cost categories, or tiers. Members who belong to plans that adopt the network will have to pay more out of pocket to use the hospitals in the more expensive tiers.

Principal is working with American LifeCare Inc., New Orleans, a large southeastern managed care company, to set up the tiered hospital network, Principal says.