Independent Health to Introduce Two New Tailored-N

Independent Health to Introduce Two New Tailored-Network Products
July 1

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y., (May 9, 2013) – Independent Health will soon begin offering employers two new tailored-network health care products to provide its members and Western New York health care consumers the opportunity to experience better coordinated care, an easier-to-navigate health care system and lower costs. Known as Independent Health's Choice Plus and Independent Health's Prime Access, the two new products will both become available July 1.

Choice Plus is a fully insured product targeted to the small-group employer market as part of Independent Health's partnership with Catholic Health and Catholic Medical Partners. Choice Plus is a follow-up to First Choice, a self-funded, first-in-the-Western New York-market, tailored-network product targeted to large group employers and made available through Independent Health starting Jan. 1, 2013.

Prime Access is also a fully insured product being marketed to employer groups with less than 50 eligible employees as part of The Primary Connection, a ground-breaking alliance between Independent Health and a pioneering group of local primary care physicians. Using patient-centered medical home principles as its foundation, The Primary Connection was launched on July 1, 2012.

Michael W. Cropp, M.D., president & CEO, Independent Health, said the products have been developed as part of the health plan's ongoing commitment to achieving the goals of better health, better care and lower costs, and its efforts to meet customers’ needs in the new retail marketplace evolving from the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

"Independent Health continues to work closely with primary care physicians, specialists, hospitals and other providers to create products and business relationships that improve the quality and integration of care," said Dr. Cropp. "Our goal is to make health care delivery more consumer-friendly and less confusing through a greater alignment of the health system."

"These innovative product designs – both of which capitalize on the strength and highly collaborative nature of our providers relationships – will result in better care, increased patient peace-of-mind, and lower health care expenses," added Dr. Cropp.

Choice Plus will provide members with the opportunity to seek medical care at all hospitals and from all other providers within and outside the Independent Health network. The lowest out-of-pocket costs, however, will be achieved by using in-network hospitals, facilities and physicians that are part of Catholic Health and Catholic Medical Partners, along with Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Buffalo Medical Group and other select providers. Catholic Health labs, Quest and X-Cell labs, and all OB/GYNs and pediatricians are also included in the tailored network.

"Choice Plus is another step in the evolution of the new health care marketplace, with increased provider accountability for delivering safe, effective, efficient medical care to our patients," said Michael Edbauer, DO, chief medical officer, Catholic Medical Partners. "Catholic Medical Partners has been a national leader in building an integrated delivery system among and between physicians and health care systems. Our investments in technology, care management, and patient-centered care are the core building blocks of a 21st century health care system, and our daily work has and will continue to focus on prevention, early detection and treatment, and improved care for patients with chronic health conditions. We value our relationship with Independent Health and our common desire to achieve the Triple Aim goals of improving quality, reducing the cost trend and actively engaging patients as partners in their health care."

"Members opting for the Choice Plus product will benefit from patient-centered, high-quality coordinated care, and will experience improved health outcomes, greater efficiencies and the most significant out-of-pocket savings when using hospitals, facilities and providers within the featured network," said Dr. Cropp.

"We are pleased to be part of these ground breaking product launches with Independent Health," said Joe McDonald, president & CEO of Catholic Health. "Among health providers, Catholic Health is the high quality, low cost leader in the region, and these products should appeal to any employer looking for more affordable health plan options. By using Catholic Health programs and services and Catholic Medical Partners physicians, large and small businesses can offer their employees the highest quality care, while lowering their overall health care costs."

Members choosing Prime Access will receive medical care from a network of high-performing physicians, including all physicians who are part of The Primary Connection, an alliance that includes 180 primary care physicians, including all of Buffalo Medical Group’s primary care doctors.

The Prime Access product will be comprised of two plan options: enhanced and standard. Both options provide the same benefits, but the enhanced option has lower copayments and deductibles than the standard option. Members will be placed in the enhanced plan upon enrollment and will remain in it by completing a health engagement form designed to encourage increased communication with their primary care physician. The purpose of this collaboration is to encourage participating members to take a more active role in shaping their own personal health and wellness.

"Engaging patients more in their health through prevention and wellness, and strengthening communication between primary care doctors and specialists, will improve the quality and coordination of care, which will lead to improving our population's health and wellbeing, and lower medical costs," said Dr. Cropp.

Donald Robinson, M.D., a primary care physician and chairman of The Primary Connection’s Leadership Council, agrees. "Encouraging improved connectivity between the patient and his or her doctor is a key component of this new product and aligns perfectly with the concept of The Primary Connection initiative," said Dr. Robinson. "Discussing health-risk factors and undertaking a confidential dialog with the patient will help establish a patient-engagement plan with targeted goals and objectives. This unique relationship will also provide the doctor with a valuable resource to quickly and effectively coordinate prescribed care."

Both products – Choice Plus and Prime Access – were approved by the New York State Department of Financial Services and will be aggressively marketed by the sales team at Independent Health and its broker constituents.