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Ideas: Zurich, California Blue Shield

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A unit of the Zurich Financial Services Group has added a universal life policy with a crediting rate based on the performance of three different market indexes.

The Schaumburg, Ill., affluent markets group at Zurich Financial, Zurich, says holders of the flexible-premium policy can allocate policy value to a global index as well as to a domestic index and a fixed index.

Zurich Financial plans to give the top-performing index extra weight when computing the crediting rate each year. The crediting rate calculators will disregard the lowest performing index.

Zurich Financial will write the policy through Zurich American Life Insurance Company, which has its official domicile in Illinois and offices in Jersey City, N.J.

In other ideas news, Blue Shield of California, San Francisco, is joining with St. Joseph Health System, Orange, Calif., to form an “accountable care organization” (ACO) test program.

ACO advocates want doctors, hospitals and health insurers to work more closely together to improve coordination of patient care.

The California Blue Shield-St. Joseph ACO will try to coordinate care for about 30,000 California Blue Shield health maintenance organization members who get primary care from doctors affiliated with one of the St. Joseph Health System’s three hospitals.

The ACO will begin coordinating patient care Jan. 1, 2012, and the test program is set to last at least 12 months, California Blue Shield says.

- Allison Bell

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