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30 employers band together in surgical benefits consortium

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Employees who work at large em­­ployers like Walmart and Lowe’s can get hip and knee replacements free.

A group of more than 30 employers—including Boeing, Chevron, GE, Target and Wells Fargo—have formed the national Employers Cen­­ter of Excellence Network to negotiate lower prices so they can offer the surgeries at no cost to employees.

Workers and family members can take advantage of the program if they agree to have their surgeries at one of four hospital systems in Cali­­for­­nia, Mary­­land, Missouri and Washington.

The plan covers 100% of the fees for consultations and care, plus travel, lodging and living expenses for the patient and a caregiver.

Patients who do not want to travel may have the surgeries at their local hospitals, but have to pay the usual deductibles and co-pays.

The Pacific Business Group on Health manages the program, which CEO David Lansky calls “a model for delivering high-quality health care with transparent and predictable costs.”

Walmart also participates in a similar program that covers heart transplants and some other heart and spine surgeries at the Mayo Clinic for em­­ployees enrolled in the company’s medical plan. Likewise, Lowe’s em­­ployees since 2010 have had access to enhanced benefits for some heart surgeries at the Cleveland Clinic.

Contact: Ed Mabrie at Pacific Business Group on Health, (415) 615-6333.

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