Vanguard, Tufts launch CO-OP health plan

Vanguard Health System, Tufts Medical Center and its New England Quality Care Alliance physicians' group have formed a consumer operated and oriented plan (CO-OP) health plan with an $88.5 million loan from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Boston Business Journal reported.

Minuteman Health will begin open enrollment Oct. 1 through its website, insurance brokers and the state health insurance exchange, called Commonwealth Connector, the paper said. The company plans television, radio and outdoor advertising to spread awareness of its five coverage plans, which go into effect Jan. 1.

The 14 hospitals accepting Minuteman Health insurance include Tufts Medical Center, three Vanguard-owned hospitals, and hospitals owned by Lahey Health and Southcoast Health System, according to the Business Journal.

Under its CO-OP structure, Minuteman Health members will elect the board of directors, with a majority of the directors being plan members, the insurer said in an announcement.

Minuteman said it will provide "lower-cost, high-quality care with unprecedented transparency, as well as increased efficiency and satisfaction for physicians, patients and employers alike."

With its loan from CMS, the nonprofit becomes the first healthcare CO-OP in the state to be funded through the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Mass) said in a statement. "The ACA encourages innovation in the structure and governance of health plans, as hospitals and doctors seek to control cost and improve quality of care. I will watch Minuteman's progress with great interest."

The new CEO is Tom Policelli, former director of UnitedHealth Group's iPlan, according to the Business Journal. Rina Vertis, former chief actuary at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, is the chief financial officer.

For more information:
- read the Boston Business Journal article
 -here's the announcement

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