NU Online News Service, Feb. 7, 2005, 3:50 p.m. EST

A Lake Forest, Ill., insurer wants to cut costs for consumers who seek care from out-of-network doctors.[@@]

The insurer, a unit of Trustmark Mutual Holding Company, has started offering the LabOne Select discount laboratory services program to Trustmark health plan members who have health reimbursement arrangements and health savings accounts.

Members of the plans will get discounts of up to 80% on lab testing services handled by LabOne Inc., Lenexa, Kan.

In theory, holders of HRAs and HSAs can use account assets to pay for care from any doctor. One obstacle at some account-based programs has been lack of in-network access to the deep discounts on in-network lab services that members of conventional managed care plans usually enjoy.

Trustmark plan members will be able to show their medical identification cards to any doctor, and the doctors will be able to call LabOne to send couriers to collect the lab specimens, Trustmark says.

LabOne usually will report results to the doctors within 24 hours, Trustmark says.