As part of its expansion into insurance, Catholic Health Initiatives has announced a deal for QualChoice Holdings, Arkansas' second-largest HMO. Terms of the deal were not disclosed and must be approved by the Arkansas Insurance Department.
Under terms of the deal, CHI would buy out QualChoice owners TriZetto Corp.; the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Tenet HealthSystem Medical; Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock; and QualChoice of Arkansas.
CHI's Little Rock-based subsidiary, St. Vincent Health System, is also an existing owner in QualChoice.
The purchase would extend CHI's reach in the health insurance market, which the Englewood, Colo.-based system cemented last year with the $24 million acquisition of Soundpath Health, a Federal Way, Wash.-based Medicare Advantage provider that insures 17,000 individuals.
Little Rock, Ark.-based QualChoice, which operates across Arkansas and whose health plans cover 70,000, is likely to enter the Medicare Advantage market, said Michael Stock, CEO and president of QualChoice.
The Medicare Advatage market is one that CHI's Michael Rowan described during a recent interview as “a low-risk means of getting into the insurance business.”