Medical Mutual of Ohio announced it will bring onto its rolls 105,000 members currently enrolled in HealthSpan Partners' individual and group plans—a move that essentially spells the end for the former Kaiser Permanente of Ohio insurance operation.
The deal calls for HealthSpan — the former Kaiser group — to continue insuring members enrolled in employer-sponsored plans through their renewal date or Aug. 31, whichever comes first, and individual members through Dec. 31, according to a Medical Mutual news release. Medical Mutual said in its release that HealthSpan members don't need to do anything at this time and that Medical Mutual will contact customers with information about replacing their current coverage.
“Medical Mutual has plans with comparable coverage based on rates, benefits and provider network, which, depending on the plan, is likely to include the same physicians offered by the HealthSpan network,” said Jared Chaney, Medical Mutual's chief communications officer, in a statement. “We are going to work hard to transition as much of the HealthSpan membership to us as we can. We think we will be a great fit for them.”
HealthSpan spokesman Chuck Heald said his organization will cease operations on Jan. 1, 2017.
Earlier this year, HealthSpan announced it would dissolve its medical group, and many of its physicians have since been hired by other systems, particularly The MetroHealth System. HealthSpan had hoped to move forward as just an insurer but the competition in the market proved too fierce.
“We were a small plan and not able to make the growth needed to be sustainable or viable in the marketplace,” Heald said.
HealthSpan, the insurance arm of the Cincinnati-based Mercy Health, acquired the Kaiser Permanente of Ohio operations in the fall of 2013. However, since the acquisition, HealthSpan had been unable to turn the group into a profitable enterprise.