- Hartford HealthCare, which operates six hospitals across Connecticut, is teaming up with Tufts Health Plan of Massachusetts to create a health insurance company, the Hartford Courant reports.
- The joint venture, CarePartners of Connecticut, will focus on providing Medicare-eligible seniors the option of enrolling in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. Such plans are sold by private insurers and typically include extra coverage for vision, hearing and dental.
- The organizations aim to offer CarePartners plans to other healthcare providers in Connecticut. Enrollment is slated to begin this fall, with coverage starting Jan. 1 of next year.
The MA market is proving popular with payers, and enrollment is expected to increase by 9% to 20.4 million in 2018. This latest partnership also reflects a broader vertical integration trend of providers and payers joining forces to increase efficiencies and provide more seamless care for patients.
In December, UnitedHealth’s service and innovation arm Optum Heath revealed plans to purchase DaVita Medical Group, a network of 300 medical clinics featuring primary and specialty care that serves 1.7 million patients a year. The $4.9 billion deal was one of three provider-focused transactions last year: Optum also bought ambulatory surgery center chain Surgical Care Affiliates and Reliant Medical Group in Massachusetts.
December also saw the $69 billion CVS Health and Aetna merger, which, if approved, could steer patients to preventable care in low-cost settings. In a joint statement announcing the deal, both companies stressed that it “fills an unmet need in the current healthcare system and presents a unique opportunity to redefine access to high-quality care in lower-cost, local settings whether in the community, at home, or through digital tools.”
In a joint news release, Hartford HealthCare and Tufts said combining the strengths of a provider and insurer will improve access, affordability and care coordination while enhancing the patient experience. Achieving that, however, will require good communication and coordination practices.
This is Tufts’ second provider collaboration. The health plan previously aligned with Granite Healthcare Network to launch the Tufts Health Freedom Plan in New Hampshire.
CarePartners of Connecticut still requires CMS approval.