In September of 2020, L. A. Care announced they had expanded their collaboration with UCLA Health to include primary care physicians with the UCLA Medical Group. I paid no attention to this announcement until I did a search for a UCLA Medical Group physician on Covered California and the doctor showed as in-network with L. A. Care.
L. A. Care Includes Some UCLA Primary Care Doctors
Please pardon my skepticism about L. A. Care including UCLA physicians in their HMO plan through Covered California. Last year Oscar health plans dropped UCLA doctors from their network for Covered California plans. I did a provider search on the L. A. Care website for primary care physicians in a 30-mile radius around zip code 91301 and the results came back with 35 doctors. Not an overwhelming number of doctors, but more than any Oscar plan through Covered California.
I will note that when selecting the UCLA Medical Group from the drop-down list on the L. A. Care website, it will specify that limited enrollment is available. I don’t know if that means only the participating primary care physicians will accept a limited number of L. A. Care members or if the entire UCLA Medical Group is limited.
Blue Shield PPO Includes UCLA Medical Group
The only other Covered California health plan to include UCLA Medical Group is Blue Shield PPO. When I perform a PCP search, 30 miles around zip code 91301, Blue Shield shows 1,791 doctors. However, I can’t believe all of those doctors can be designated as a PCP. Regardless, at this point, it looks like Blue Shield will have more UCLA Medical Group physicians in-network than L. A. Care.
Blue Shield PPO is also quite a bit more expensive than L. A. Care. But if you can get your UCLA doctor as your PCP in L. A. Care for several hundred dollars less per month than having a Blue Shield PPO plan, it might be worth it. As L. A. Care notes, there is limited availability of UCLA physicians. It’s possible that UCLA PCPs will only accept so many L. A. Care HMO members. At least UCLA is participating in the L. A. Care HMO. UC Davis Medical Group has opted out of HMO plans in Sacramento.