Anthem and Aurora form joint venture insurance company

Plan sales to begin this year

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin and Aurora Health Care have partnered to form a health insurance company called Wisconsin Collaborative Insurance Company.

insurance

Wisconsin Collaborative Insurance Company, WCIC, will offer commercial insurance initially targeting medium- and large-sized employer groups. The insurance plan offered by the company will be called Well Priority.

The partnership is a 50-50 joint venture between Aurora and Anthem. The company’s network will include, in addition to Aurora, several health systems already participating in Anthem’s Blue Priority network — Aspirus, Bellin Health, children’s Hospital, Gundersen Health System, ProHealth Care, ThedaCare, UW Health, and UnityPoint Health – Meriter in Madison.

Anthem and Aurora have each invested $5 million in the new company, which received approval to move forward from the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance on Tuesday.

During a conference call on Wednesday morning, John Foley, Aurora’s senior vice president of business development and president of the new company, and Larry Schreiber, president of Anthem’s Empire BlueCross BlueShield health plan and the new company’s CEO, outlined the philosophy behind the joint venture.

“Today most of our care is sick-care,” Foley said. “Well Priority products seek to turn this around by combining Aurora’s delivery system and Anthem’s expertise. By integrating clinical and claims data, professionals will identify gaps in care. This will help WCIC better manage populations around their health.”

In other words, the company will focus on patient wellness and preventative care instead of the traditional focus on acute care for sick patients. In theory, the strategy could reduce the number of claims filed with the insurance company, thereby lowering rates.

Wisconsin Collaborative will be run by employees of both Aurora and Anthem.

The Wisconsin Collaborative will have its headquarters in Wisconsin and “in terms of brick and mortar, the company is basically going to be dividing the services between Aurora and Anthem,” Schreiber said during a conference call.

Aurora has already hired additional employees to staff certain components of the new venture, including care management and population health, Foley said. Anthem plans to add employees in the future, but the company is already large enough to embed work for the new company into its current workforce, Schreiber said.

Neither Foley nor Schreiber would say how many employees have been or will be hired to staff the new company.

“At this point, we wouldn’t want to outline that very specifically,” Foley said.

Though WCIC will rely on Anthem’s Blue Priority network, Schreiber said current Blue Priority enrollees in Wisconsin will not be forced to adopt the Well Priority plan — at least initially.

“We just got the insurance company approval yesterday,” Schreiber said. “The final plans on exactly how we’ll bring it to market for existing employers that are part of Blue Priority are still under construction.”

Product sales will begin this summer for group plans beginning January 1, 2017. WCIC will initially focus on securing contracts with medium and large employer groups.

The company will not offer individual plans on the Affordable Care Act exchange in 2017, but Schreiber and Foley said the company is considering entering that market in 2018.

 

 

Details and plan options for Well Priority have not been finalized and will be released to health insurance brokers and employers in meetings over the next few months.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Wisconsin and Aurora Health Care have partnered to form a health insurance company called Wisconsin Collaborative Insurance Company.

insurance

Wisconsin Collaborative Insurance Company, WCIC, will offer commercial insurance initially targeting medium- and large-sized employer groups. The insurance plan offered by the company will be called Well Priority.

The partnership is a 50-50 joint venture between Aurora and Anthem. The company’s network will include, in addition to Aurora, several health systems already participating in Anthem’s Blue Priority network — Aspirus, Bellin Health, children’s Hospital, Gundersen Health System, ProHealth Care, ThedaCare, UW Health, and UnityPoint Health – Meriter in Madison.

Anthem and Aurora have each invested $5 million in the new company, which received approval to move forward from the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance on Tuesday.

During a conference call on Wednesday morning, John Foley, Aurora’s senior vice president of business development and president of the new company, and Larry Schreiber, president of Anthem’s Empire BlueCross BlueShield health plan and the new company’s CEO, outlined the philosophy behind the joint venture.

“Today most of our care is sick-care,” Foley said. “Well Priority products seek to turn this around by combining Aurora’s delivery system and Anthem’s expertise. By integrating clinical and claims data, professionals will identify gaps in care. This will help WCIC better manage populations around their health.”

In other words, the company will focus on patient wellness and preventative care instead of the traditional focus on acute care for sick patients. In theory, the strategy could reduce the number of claims filed with the insurance company, thereby lowering rates.

Wisconsin Collaborative will be run by employees of both Aurora and Anthem.

The Wisconsin Collaborative will have its headquarters in Wisconsin and “in terms of brick and mortar, the company is basically going to be dividing the services between Aurora and Anthem,” Schreiber said during a conference call.

Aurora has already hired additional employees to staff certain components of the new venture, including care management and population health, Foley said. Anthem plans to add employees in the future, but the company is already large enough to embed work for the new company into its current workforce, Schreiber said.

Neither Foley nor Schreiber would say how many employees have been or will be hired to staff the new company.

“At this point, we wouldn’t want to outline that very specifically,” Foley said.

Though WCIC will rely on Anthem’s Blue Priority network, Schreiber said current Blue Priority enrollees in Wisconsin will not be forced to adopt the Well Priority plan — at least initially.

“We just got the insurance company approval yesterday,” Schreiber said. “The final plans on exactly how we’ll bring it to market for existing employers that are part of Blue Priority are still under construction.”

Product sales will begin this summer for group plans beginning January 1, 2017. WCIC will initially focus on securing contracts with medium and large employer groups.

The company will not offer individual plans on the Affordable Care Act exchange in 2017, but Schreiber and Foley said the company is considering entering that market in 2018.

 

 

Details and plan options for Well Priority have not been finalized and will be released to health insurance brokers and employers in meetings over the next few months.

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