Today Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler gave the last major approval needed for Kaiser Permanente to acquire Group Health Cooperative. Both organizations can now take the final steps needed to move forward to a February 1, 2017 close date, when Group Health Cooperative will become Kaiser Permanente Washington, bringing over 650,000 new members. You can read Group Health’s announcement here.
Since the signing of the initial agreement in December 2015, Group Health has held town hall meetings and discussions throughout the state. Their voting membership approved the acquisition, then the Office of the Insurance Commission reviewed and evaluated, also holding town hall meetings and a public hearing. If the acquisition successfully closes next month, members will begin to see the Kaiser Permanente name on Group Health facilities, and receive a welcome letter and new ID card. Benefits, rates, and policy details will not change at this time, as plans are already locked in for the year.
Susan Mullaney, president designate for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington stated: “Our members can look forward to investments in the clinics, technology and people that deliver the care and services which translate to better health.”
Scott Armstrong, president and chief executive officer of Group Health Cooperative concurs. “Consumers in our state will be even better served with the strength, talent and resources of what will soon become Kaiser Permanente Washington.”
Kaiser Permanente was founded in 1945, and currently serves over 10.6 million members in eight states. Group Health Cooperative began in 1947 and currently operates as a non-profit in Washington state. Kaiser has pledged to give approximately $1.8B to the new not-for-profit Group Health Community Foundation to continue Group Health’s legacy of helping Washingtonians achieve better health.
VibrantUSA will update clients with more information as it becomes available. Please keep in mind that all 2017 Medicare and Individual Group Health plans have been filed and will continue through the end of the year. We look forward to assisting members during the Annual Enrollment Period next Fall to review changes and options for 2018.
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