Kaiser Permanente Will Not Enroll Former Health Plan of the Redwoods Members
Kaiser Permanente said yesterday that it will not enroll any former Health Plan of the Redwoods members this year, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. The HMO said it is "unprepared" to handle HPR members, who will receive official notice of HPR's liquidation this week or next (Rose, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 8/9). Faced with an $8 million budget deficit since Jan. 1, HPR filed for federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 31. HPR officials estimate that the health plan owes $38.7 million to creditors, which include local hospitals, physicians and other health care professionals (California Healthline, 8/5). HPR last week decided to liquidate and shut down by Oct. 31, which would leave 78,000 members of the Sonoma County health plan with only three months to find a new health insurer (California Healthline, 8/2). Kaiser would likely have been the "immediate lowest-cost alternative" for HPR members, the Press Democrat reports. Kaiser has enrolled 600 of HPR's Medicare+Choice patients. It has not yet decided if it will limit membership from former HPR patients next year (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 8/9).
The following summarizes the Press Democrat's recent coverage of HPR.
- "Health Net, PacifiCare Leading Alternatives to HPR": The article reports that employers will likely opt to insure their employees through Health Net or PacifiCare, which offer "more expensive plans with reduced benefits" (Rose, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 8/8).
- "County Schools Brace for HPR Fallout": The article reports that the collapse of HPR will force Sonoma County schools to pay up to 30% more for their employees' health care coverage this fall. After the school district selects a new health plan, school and union officials will determine how to cover the increased costs, which may include staff cutbacks or passing some of the expenses on to employees (Digitale, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 8/8).
- "School Woes": According to a Press Democrat editorial, "Local school districts and teachers will have to pay more for health insurance" because schools, employees and other HPR members "didn't pay more" before (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 8/9).
- "Coverage Assured after HPR": The article reports that state and HPR officials on Monday corrected information given by customer service representatives on how individually insured HPR members can find coverage after their HPR coverage expires (Fricker, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 8/6).