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Hartford HealthCare, Tufts to Offer Medicare Advantage Plans in State

February 28, 2018

Hartford HealthCare today announced it is forming a health insurance company with Tufts Health Plan of Massachusetts to provide Connecticut residents eligible for Medicare with cost-effective Medicare Advantage plans.

The joint venture, CarePartners of Connecticut Inc., anticipates joining the state’s Medicare Advantage health insurance market Jan. 1, 2019, pending regulatory approval.

“This new partnership represents an important chapter in a larger story about the exciting shift across the American health care delivery system,” said Hartford HealthCare CEO Elliot Joseph, “for providers and health plans to create meaningful partnerships to make care more accessible, consumer friendly, affordable and ultimately more coordinated.”

More than 40 insurance insurance companies backed by health-care providers have formed nationwide since 2010, but CarePartners of Connecticut is the first in this state. Hartford HealthCare’s new partner offered one of only 14 Medicare Advantage plans nationwide — the Tufts Medicare Preferred HMO and Senior Care Options — to earn a five-star rating in 2016 and 2017 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, offers coverage by private insurance companies that provide all the benefits of Medicare Part and Part B. Tufts, a nonprofit, also started an insurance-company partnership in 2015 with Granite Health and its five hospitals in New Hampshire. The employer-sponsored Tufts Health Freedom Plan now has 30,000 members.

“We know health plan-provider collaborations can improve the experience for patients,” said Tom Cross, CEO of Tufts Health Plan.

Sharing the critical data from a health provider and insurer is expected to improve care for people with multiple chronic conditions and those who require complex care. Plan members can also expect:

  • A statewide network of providers.
  • Wellness programs and educational resources that promote healthy lifestyles.
  • Clinical teams to assist both members and caregivers with navigating the healthcare system.
  • A user-friendly portal for easy access to patient information.

The joint venture arrives during a dramatic realignment of the health-care industry that includes new partnerships that not too long ago would have been considered improbable. CVS Health Corp.’s pending $69 billion acquisition of Aetna, still headquartered in Hartford, would combine the nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain with a health insurer. Amazon, following yearlong rumors that it might enter the pharmacy business, instead announced recently a partnership with two other commerce heavyweights, Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, that would provide health coverage for their combined 1.2 million customers in an effort to reduce costs.

“Our partnership with Hartford HealthCare comes at a very important time in the quickly shifting health-care landscape,” said Croswell, “where providing the highest quality care to our members while effectively managing costs is critical.”