MVP reports membership increase

MVP Health Care cast a wider net during the fall open-enrollment period and ended up with a big catc
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MVP Health Care cast a wider net during the fall open-enrollment period and ended up with a big catch: 40,000 new members, enough to replace the losses it sustained during the year.

The Schenectady health insurer announced Friday that it ended 2007 with 700,000 members, a 6 percent increase. That gain marked a significant turnaround for MVP, which had seen its membership drop 5.7 percent to 660,000 during the first nine months of 2007.

MVP executives attributed last year’s membership gain partly to its expanded Medicare Advantage plan offerings and its TriVantage exclusive provider organization plans. MVP in September rolled out the EPO, which offer personalized benefits, such as credits toward fitness club memberships or children’s swim programs.

The membership figures include members from Preferred Care, the Rochester health insurer MVP merged with in 2006.

That merger helped MVP develop a Medicare Advantage plan called MVP Gold, which the General Electric Co. last fall started offering to over 18,000 workers in the Capital Region and Syracuse area. The Schenectady insurer in January expanded MVP Gold’s coverage area to 18 from five upstate counties.

MVP received another merger-related boost in October when the Eastman Kodak Co. in Rochester named Preferred its sole provider of health benefits. Kodak provides health coverage to over 75,000 people.

Preferred managed to secure the Kodak deal partly because of its new nationwide provider network MVP created through a partnership with the Bloomfield, Conn.-based CIGNA HealthCare. The partnership allows MVP and Preferred members to use the 500,000 providers and 5,000 health care facilities in CIGNA’s network.

“Our enrollment growth is a sure sign that the synergy we expected from the merger of MVP Health Care and Preferred Care, combined with our national network alliance with CIGNA HealthCare, are producing positive results,” MVP President and Chief Executive Officer David Oliker said in a statement.

Another source of membership growth was MVP’s acquisition of Patriot HealthCare in Manchester, N.H. MVP took over Patriot after it failed and a New Hampshire Superior Court judge placed it under the state insurance commissioner’s supervision. The commissioner transferred Patriot and its 6,500 members to MVP’s Granite State arm.

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