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UC Care Reaches Deal with Sansum Clinic for Coverage

More than a month of vocal protests have paid off for UC Santa Barbara employees, who have fought and won the right to use less-expensive health-care plan coverage locally.

University of California officials announced last week that they had reached an agreement with Sansum Clinics in Santa Barbara to be a part of the first tier of UC Care, the least-expensive option in the recently rolled out three-tiered system.

UCSB faculty had been lambasting the new, revamped medical benefits since the 2014 changes were unveiled last month — collecting more than 300 signatures for a petition addressed to UC President Janet Napolitano and threatening legal action.

UC System changes will ax all Anthem plans in 2014, along with a Health Net Full HMO, because of the company’s scheduled price increases.

The plans will be replaced with a Blue Shield Health Savings Plan and UC Care, which was set to offer its first tier at hospitals near all UC campuses except in Santa Barbara.

UC officials had previously been unable to reach an insurance agreement to accept the Tier 1 plan, a $20 co-pay PPO plan, at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital or Sansum Clinic.

UC has still not been unable to reach an agreement with Cottage Hospital.

Cottage and Sansum will, however, accept the second tier of UC Care, which will charge patients for 20 percent of their services with a $5,000 cap. The facilities will also accept the new Health Net Blue & Gold HMO and two current HMO plans.

"We understand the complex provider situation in Santa Barbara and have heard UC Santa Barbara employees' concerns regarding Sansum and Cottage Hospitals," said Lori Taylor, executive director of UC Care. "We are happy that we have been able to work out an understanding with Sansum Clinic."

Under the agreement, UCSB employees, who were able to enroll in new plans beginning Oct. 28, will have access to 48 providers and specialist, five multispecialty clinic locations, two urgent care centers and more than 200 physicians in the Sansum Santa Barbara Medical Foundation group.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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