MetroHealth and Medical Mutual Announce Partnership to Meet the Needs of HealthSpan Customers

MetroHealth and Medical Mutual Launch New Insurance Product to Meet HealthSpan Customers

Medical Mutual CEO Rick Chiricosta stands outside the company’s headquarters in 2009. On Monday, Medical Mutual launched a new insurance product in partnership with MetroHealth. The agreement will help both organizations meet the needs of former HealthSpan customers.

(Marvin Fong)

As HealthSpan winds down operations, MetroHealth and Medical Mutual Insurance of Ohio are picking up the pieces to create a new insurance product they say will cut premium costs by 15%.

The product, dubbed CLECare, seeks to achieve these savings by providing employers and their covered employees with a tailored network of providers to meet most healthcare needs.

MetroHealth will provide essential services — including tests, doctor visits and hospital stays — at its network of hospitals and outpatient centers in Cuyahoga County. Other specialized services, such as complex procedures, behavioral health and palliative care, will be provided by other facilities in the region.

“This rare and intense collaboration improves patients‘ access to the best care for their needs while reducing costs,” Dr. Akram Boutros, chief executive of MetroHealth, said Monday in a press release announcing the agreement. “The partnership really came together because we are all committed to improving patient care.”

The partnership is also a way for MetroHealth and Medical Mutual to close ranks around HealthSpan customers, who are looking for new options as the HMO prepares to cease operations. However, the CLEcare product is also available to non-HealthSpan members and other northeast Ohio employers.

After years of poor financial results, HealthSpan announced plans to cease operations earlier this year. The company, which closed its physician group in late March, said it would continue to insure members with employer-sponsored coverage until their renewal date or August 31, whichever comes first. It has undertaken to insure individual members until the end of the year.

Medical Mutual of Ohio acquired HealthSpan’s insurance business in March, and MetroHealth has hired many of the company’s former doctors in recent months. CLECare is an effort by both organizations to leverage those investments and create a product that could appeal to a wider range of customers.

In their press release announcing the agreement, Medical Mutual and MetroHealth said the new product will make it easier for patients to access affordable care, improve coordination of medical services and reduce unnecessary treatment.

“We expect significant interest from former HealthSpan insurance buyers and the growing number of employers and individuals in Cuyahoga County who are looking for better value for their healthcare expenses,” said Rick Chiricosta, CEO of Medical Mutual.