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Premier to sell health insurance [Dayton Daily News, Ohio :: ]
[August 27, 2014]

Premier to sell health insurance [Dayton Daily News, Ohio :: ]

(Dayton Daily News (OH) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 27--Premier Health, the Dayton-area's largest hospital network, will expand into the health insurance business, which will mean new jobs for the area, company officials said.

Premier already offers coverage to its employees through its own health plan, but will begin offering individual health coverage through Ohio's health insurance marketplace beginning next year.

In addition, Premier will sell group and individual plans outside the marketplace as well as government sponsored Medicare Advantage plans to seniors. Enrollment in Medicare Advantage begins in October, while marketplace enrollment begins Nov. 15.

Selling commercial health insurance to the general public will be a first for one of the area's largest employers with more than 13,000 employees. Company officials said they would need to expand to accommodate growth from the insurance business, but decline to offer specific hiring goals.

Mike Maiberger -- senior vice president, value based services at Premier -- said selling health insurance is part of the nonprofit's overall goal of expanding health care and health coverage to a broader swath of the population.

"This is all born out of the Premier Health strategic plan," Maiberger said, noting that the move to become an insurer as well as a provider of health care will give Premier "the ability to coordinate care across all the services and the regions that we serve." Premier's health plan will operate as a separate business unit, and will offer a network of physicians and treatment facilities not limited to Premier assets, said Aaron Molitor, president of Premier Health Plan.

"This is much broader than just Premier as an organization," Molitor said. "The actual network is a large network of providers that includes largely community-based providers that aren't owned by Premier Health." Molitor said there will be more than 3,300 providers in the health plan's network, who's members won't have to worry about fewer choices and limited access to outside experts and cutting-edge treatments.

Premier will be joining a crowded field of marketplace insurers.

Beginning next year, 16 companies will sell more than 290 individual marketplace plans in Ohio with an average monthly premium of $372.86 -- before premium tax credit subsidies offered by the federal government are included, according to the state insurance department.

Dayton will now be the headquarters to two of the biggest non-profit companies in the marketplace.

CareSource, a Medicaid managed care provider and the second-largest health insurer in the state, began selling its CareSource Just4Me brand insurance in the marketplace this year, and the company plans to expand its marketplace offerings to Indiana and Kentucky next year.

___ (c)2014 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) Visit the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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