UC Open Enrollment coming soon. Which medical plan to pick?

Hoping some other UC Employee or family member has done some research and given careful thought regarding the upcoming open enrollment.  It hasn't opened yet but I thought I'd get a jump on the research as I don't want to procrastinate and just go ahead with what I have next year.  What I have is the Healthnet Blue & Gold plan, Brown and Toland (formerly Alta Bates) Medical Group.  This plan is getting worse and worse.  Limited choice of primary care doctors for adults and terrible physical therapy options.  I'd ideally like to stay with Healthnet Blue and Gold as it is the right price.  So perhaps one of the other medical groups is somehow better?  Not Kaiser.  Been there done that.  Anyone really happy with their plan?  I'd like to know which ones and why.  Thanks.

Parent Replies

Parents, want to reply to this question? Sign in to post.

I have UC Care and have had this option for several years.  It is not cheap, esp for family coverage, but I have been very happy with the options available to us.  (I still have my Brown and Toland based internist and Ob-Gyn, and see both UC and Sutter based specialists.  I have a chronic condition which requires visits to a number of specialists every year, and my daughter has a condition that requires annual labs and imaging.)  

Hi, there. We are a UC family who has had Healthnet Blue & Gold for quite a while. We previously had Brown & Toland Medical Group because that's who our Doctor and her practice belonged to. But when the practice was sold, she moved to a new group, and we followed her there. We adore Dr. Audrey D'Andrea; she is now with Canopy Health/John Muir Network; they are on San Pablo just south of Ashby. This is super convenient for us; we can walk there, there's a parking garage with validated parking. There's a lab in the building. There's an urgent care facility in the building. Fantastic! Overall much more convenient for us than the old location in Oakland. A few things are less convenient: I now to go to Orinda for my mammogram, instead of to the lovely facility in Oakland. When my husband needed hand surgery, he had to have it in San Francisco. But overall, we are very happy, and we would follow Dr. D'Andrea pretty much anywhere!


I remember they used to also include Stanford Health Care, which is excellent; I went to them when I was on Healthnet.  Is that still an option?  They have a clinic in Emeryville.

I know what you mean about the wretched PT options under Blue & Gold.  But we decided that we could pay out-of-pocket for a lot of PT sessions each year, with the PT of our choice, and still not spend what  we'd pay for premiums with a different plan. In fact, considering the copays and costs (in money and time) of traveling to the few covered PT providers, it wasn't much more expensive to pay out of pocket anyway. (And be sure to use the Healthcare FSA!). We are happy with our PCPs, and haven't needed much specialist care (thankfully), so we've stayed with Blue and Gold.

Depending on your particular situation (including your premiums at your pay bracket, and how much PT or other specialist care you need), this might or might not apply to you, but it's worth doing some math.


I am still with Healthnet Blue & Gold.  I was also with the Brown & Toland/Alta Bates group.  I am now with the Canopy Health/John Muir Physicians group.  So far, I have been very please with the services and practitioners.  My primary care doctor and the urgent care services are located at the John Muir/ UCSF Health Center on San Pablo in Berkeley.

I hope this helps.

Interested to hear what others say, for such a large and prominent state employer I think that UC has pretty lousy benefits. We have the UC Health Savings Plan, because we wanted to go with a PPO plan, and we figured that even after paying the deductible the premium savings were large enough to go with the HSA. We had UC Blue & Gold HMO our first year and absolutely hated it, they were difficult to deal with and seemed to hardly cover any of the doctors that we would want to see. The physician selection is better on the PPO of course but there's the issue of having to pay out of pocket until you meet the deductible and that really sucks - for an ultrasound to rule out an ectopic pregnancy earlier this year, I had to pay $950 to even get in the door, and then got hit up for a few hundred more for the doctor a couple months later. I guess this is what our health system is, and going in on the HSA plan helps you to see it in all its enraging glory. 

Which is to say, it just doesn't seem like there are any good plans in particular at UC; just need to pick your poison.