health care

Steward receives approval to sell insurance

Posted 12/14/11

BOSTON – Steward Health Care System received approval to market a health insurance plan in Massachusetts that would limit most coverage to its own hospitals and doctors, The Patriot Ledger reported.

“The new limited network is a centerpiece of Steward’s financial strategy to draw more business to its hospitals by showcasing them as a lower-cost option to competitors in the region,” the newspaper said.

Massachusetts’ Division of Insurance approved the Steward Community Choice limited network plan on Monday. The health care provider will work with Watertown-based Tufts Health Plan to administer the plan.

The premiums would be 15 percent to 30 percent below typical ones for a Tufts HMO plan in 2012, the newspaper said, but plan members would be limited to Steward hospitals and Steward-affiliated doctors.

The Patriot Ledger noted that “complicated adult cases” may be referred to Massachusetts General Hospital or Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and “complex” pediatric care will provided by Massachusetts General.

Steward is a Boston-based for-profit company that was launched by private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management to buy the six hospitals in the Caritas Christi System; it has also bought four others in eastern Massachusetts, including Quincy Medical Center and Morton Hospital in Taunton. Its purchase of Woonsocket-based Landmark Medical Center is awaiting state regulator approval.

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