NU Online News Service, Dec. 16, 2004, 5:55 p.m. EST

The insurance unit of Blue Shield of California, San Francisco, is offering employers new ways to cut health coverage costs.[@@]

California Blue is introducing 1 new conventional preferred provider organization plan and 2 high-deductible PPO plans that are compatible with the new health savings accounts.

The conventional PPO plan, the Shield Spectrum PPO Plan Zero Deductible-Value plan comes with a low premium, immediate coverage and a 50% coinsurance rate for most covered services, California Blue says.

The HSA plans, the Shield Spectrum PPO Savings Plan 1250 and the Shield Spectrum PPO Savings Plan 2600, offer employers the option of buying account management services from a unit of Wells Fargo & Company, San Francisco.