NU Online News Service, Nov. 15, 2004, 6:44 p.m. EST

One of the companies that helped start the $5-deductible health maintenance organization movement is entering the defined contribution market.[@@]

The company, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif., is getting ready for January 2005 by adding a series of new health plans that will offer a wide range of deductible and coinsurance choices. Some of the plans, the CarePay HSA plans, will be high-deductible plans that are compatible with the new health savings accounts, Kaiser says.

Kaiser has picked a unit of Wells Fargo & Company, San Francisco, to manage employee account assets for the new CarePay HSA program.

Kaiser will start by selling the new high-deductible plans in the individual and group markets in Colorado, Georgia and the Northwest.

CarePay HSA program members will be able to choose between keeping the HSA assets in ordinary bank accounts or investing them in mutual funds, Kaiser says.