National insurer Aetna and Sutter Health, a 24-hospital not-for-profit system in Sacramento, Calif., have struck a deal to launch a health plan designed to lower healthcare costs for employers and their workers.
Starting mid-2018, Sutter and Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna plan to sell coverage to self-insured employers in California's greater Sacramento, Central Valley and Bay Area communities. The companies will later offer preferred provider organization policies to fully insured employers in early 2019.
Aetna insures about 415,000 people in northern California.
The 50-50 joint venture, in which Sutter and Aetna would focus on using data analytics to identify at-risk patients to treat them sooner, is Aetna's fifth. An Aetna spokeswoman declined to release any financial terms of the deal.
Insurer-provider partnerships are becoming more common as health plans and systems grapple with how to lower costs and improve the outcomes of the patients they serve.
In such partnerships, health plans offer incentives to drive patients to the health system's narrow network of providers with the promise of higher quality and lower costs. Patients who choose to seek care outside of the network may pay most or all of the cost of care out of pocket.
Aetna said 45% of its payments are tied to value-based care contracts, and it hopes to bump that up to 75% by 2020.