UPDATE: September 10, 2018
Premera has announced the following on their website:
Premera Blue Cross received approval to acquire Catholic Health Initiative’s Soundpath Health Medicare Advantage contract, effective January 1, 2019. Soundpath Health currently serves more than 22,000 customers in Washington state.
Recently, Premera announced their acquisition of Soundpath Health’s Medicare Advantage contract which serves more than 20,000 Washington State residents. Under the terms of the proposed acquisition, Soundpath Health members would gain access to Premera’s network of hospitals and providers along with all the other benefits of being a customer of the Blue Cross brand. The proposed effective date for the acquisition is January 1, 2019. The acquisition is currently pending regulatory approval from The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and things could change.
Tracy Bos, Director and General Manager for Premera’s Senior Markets said:
Washington’s senior population is growing rapidly, with more than 50,000 people turning 65 each year. As the leading health plan in the Pacific Northwest, we believe it is important to offer benefit plans and easy access to doctors and hospitals that best meet the needs of seniors.
This news from Premera should bring some stability for our seniors and over 3,000 current VibrantUSA customers. Our team is working directly with Premera to ensure a smooth transition for our customers to the Premera brand and will be here to help you every step of the way. All of the agents at VibrantUSA are contracted and appointed with Premera Blue Cross and we do not anticipate any disruptions throughout the process for our team.
Russell Solberg, Chief Executive Officer for VibrantUSA said:
One of VibrantUSA’s core philosophies is to always do the right thing while remaining an independent and unbiased source for our customers. Our team has been working with Premera for a number of years, and we have always found them to have great service and promptly resolve any issue we have encountered. We believe Premera’s acquisition will provide stability for our Soundpath Health customers and also expand their network on the I5 corridor accordingly. We look forward to our continued partnership with Premera and assisting all of our customers as this transition gets underway.
As updates become available, we will be posting information here on our website as well as our Facebook pages.
What does this mean for current Soundpath Health customers?
For the remainder of 2018, Soundpath Health customers can continue utilizing the benefits for their plans and receive support from the Customer Service team at Soundpath Health or here at VibrantUSA. Prior to October 1, 2018, Soundpath Health customers will learn about any changes to their plan for 2019.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pending CMS approval, your plan should renew for coverage beginning on January 1, 2019 under the Premera brand name if you reside in Premera’s service area.
Plans change every year, sometimes only in small ways. Premera has submitted their preliminary plan structure and benefits to CMS, but they will not be approved or made public until October 1. VibrantUSA representatives will be unable to discuss any plan with customers for the 2019 plan year prior to October 1.
Current Premera Medicare Advantage members will experience no changes to their benefits or plan administration during 2018. Next year, you will continue to have access to health benefits under Premera’s Medicare Advantage plan.