Hartford HealthCare, Tufts form joint venture to create insurance company: 4 takeaways

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Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare, which operates six hospitals across the state, is embarking on a joint venture with Watertown-based Tufts Health Plan of Massachusetts to form a health insurance company, according to the Hartford Courant.

Here are four takeaways about the organizations' proposed joint venture.

1. The venture, dubbed CarePartners of Connecticut, will focus on providing senior citizens who qualify for Medicare the option to purchase Medicare Advantage Plans. Such plans are typically sold by private insurers and provide consumers' Medicare benefits with extra coverage for vision, hearing and dental. The enrollment period is expected to open this fall, with coverage starting Jan. 1, 2019.

2. Officials said the marriage of a provider and health insurer improves both parties' ability to help patients, particularly senior citizens, navigate the healthcare system more easily. The organizations aim to eventually offer the plans to other healthcare providers in the state, according to the report.

3. While the proposed partnership has been approved by the Connecticut Insurance Department, CMS has yet to approve the deal. Both Hartford HealthCare and Tufts Health Plan declined to comment to the Hartford Courant about their individual investments into the joint venture, but said fee schedules are still being determined.

4. Tufts Health Plan President and CEO Thomas Croswell told the Hartford Courant the goal of such collaborations between providers and insurers is to provide patients with a less costly way to access healthcare services.

"Fundamentally, what we are all trying to address — whether its Aetna-CVS, whether it's the collaboration that was announced between Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon and JPMorgan — we're all really trying to get at a better way to access healthcare and ideally deliver better quality at a lower cost. So these are all focused on the same problem, all with a different flair."

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