NU Online News Service, April 28, 2005, 3:49 p.m. EDT

An arm of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan has introduced a health maintenance organization that gives members the ability to refer themselves to any Michigan doctor.[@@]

Blue Care Network of Michigan, Southfield, Mich., says its new Blue Elect Self-Referral Option plan will combine HMO-style rates and wellness programs with a 3-tier pricing system for office visits.

Plan members can see their own primary care doctors for a low co-payment and pay more to see other Blue Care Network doctors. Blue Elect also will reimburse members for some of the cost of seeing out-of-network doctors, but members may have to make up the difference between Blue Care Network rates and out-of-network doctors’ actual charges, Blue Care Network says.

Blue Care Network has designed 2 Blue Elect plans for groups with fewer than 100 members and is offering custom plan designs for larger groups.