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4 posts categorized "Insurance news"

August 05, 2015

Insurer expands relationship with Mayo Clinic to bring more patients here

Two Minnesota health-care giants, Mayo Clinic and UnitedHealth Group, are joining forces to bring thousands of new patients to Rochester and other Mayo sites for treatment.

The Eden Prairie-based insurance provider UnitedHealth announced today it will recommend that patients with certain conditions travel to Mayo Clinic for care, through UnitedHealth's Optum Centers of Excellence Program.

800px-Gonda_building,_closer_upCompanies can sign up for coverage under the Centers of Excellence through UnitedHealth or directly through Optum. That means referring patients to designated sites, such as Mayo Clinic's campuses in Rochester, Florida and Arizona, for treatment. Participating in the program may include some coverage of travel and lodging costs.

Mayo Clinic has been listed by Optum as a Center for Excellence for organ transplants for 11 years. Optum says it makes more than 14,000 transplant referrals a year. Neither group said how many Optum organ transplant referrals come to Mayo Clinic each year.

Today's announcement adds the three Mayo Clinic locations to the list of preferred sites for treatment of cancer, heart failure, congenital heart disease, infertility and bariatric surgery.

“This expanded relationship with Mayo Clinic provides patients in participating health plans from around the country with greater access to clinically superior, cost-effective health care,” stated Mike Weissel of Optum Consumer Solutions in today's announcement.

Neither Mayo Clinic nor UnitedHealth released any estimates on how many more patients this might bring to Mayo Clinic or how much money it might bring in for Mayo Clinic. However, it clearly could be a great boon for the medical center and communities such as Rochester.

All of the new conditions added to list are major medical treatments. A look at just bariatric surgery shows the potential for growth. 

Mayo Clinic reports it performs more than 300 bariatric surgeries a year in Rochester. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery estimated a total of 179,000 bariatric surgeries were performed in the U.S. in 2013.

Both Mayo and Optum stressed how this new relationship will benefit patients by providing "access to high-quality, cost-effective care."

“Health plans and employers know the value of sending patients with complex and or rare conditions to high-quality centers such as Mayo Clinic,” said Dr. Charles Rosen, Mayo Clinic's medical director of contracting and payer relations.

Today's announcement marks the latest collaboration between Mayo Clinic and UnitedHealth/ Optum. Earlier this year, Mayo Clinic announced its partnership with Optum360 for revenue management services.

In 2013, they launched "a strategic research alliance"  to create a state-of-the-art facility in Cambridge, Mass under the umbrella of OptumLabs. OptumLabs is a for-profit unit of UnitedHealthcare's Optum division, which earned $1.3 billion in 2011. 

The research facility today has 22 major corporate partners and has more than 100 studies in process.

December 30, 2014

Strip mall with Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe sold

A 68-year-old commercial center in northwest Rochester recently sold for $765,000.

The strip mall at 902 Seventh St. N.W., anchored by Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe, was purchased by Song H. Hong on Dec. 1. HonYeoldebuildingg also owns Safechoice Insurance Agency, which is based in the center.

Other tenants in the Seventh Street plaza include Catering By Design and Jakobson Management Co. The brick-and-concrete center was built in 1946, according to Olmsted County property records.

Hong bought the building from HRB LLC, which state records list as being based at 1830 Second St. S.E. HRB purchased it back in 2001 from RC Properties of St. Paul for $900,000, according to county records.

November 24, 2014

Bandel Road Business Center sold for $1.6 million

A commercial center on Rochester's Bandel Road recently sold for almost $1.6 million as an investment for the future.

Vance Prigge, majority owner and president of Atlas Insurance Brokers, bought the Bandel Road Business Center at 5721 Bandel Road N.W. from local architect David Kane. Its current tenants are Kelly Services and Thrivent Financial. There's about 2,000 square feet still available for another tenant.

64585318ee614fa1aaade37b6bf6b76cPrigge describes the purchase as an investment with an eye to possibly use the building as a home for Atlas Insurance in the future. However, he has no immediate plans to make any moves or change anything about the building. He bought the property through his corporation, Centurion Blue Holding, LLC.

Commercial Realtor Scott Hoss handled the purchase for Rochester's Paramark Real Estate Services. Gary O’ Conner from Security State Bank of Wanamingo handled the financing.

The center was built by Rochester developer Jeff Brown in 2007.

September 09, 2013

IBM to drop 110,000 retirees off its health insurance plan

This is certainly an interesting shift that should impact a large number of Rochester retirees.

On Dec. 31, IBM is dropping all of its Medicare-eligible retirees from its health insurance coverage.

Maybe I should check with the Rochester IBM retirees group for some comments about this. Wonder if anyone would say anything on the record.

Here's some from an article by Spencer E. Ante of the Wall Street Journal:

International Business Machines Corp. plans to move about 110,000 retirees off its company-sponsored health plan and instead give them a payment to buy coverage on a health-insurance exchange, in a sign that even big, well-capitalized employers aren't likely to keep providing the once-common benefits as medical costs continue to rise.

The move, which will affect all IBM retirees once they become eligible for Medicare, will relieve the technology company of the responsibility of managing retirement health-care benefits. IBM said the growing cost of care makes its current plan unsustainable without big premium increases.

IBM buildinglogo-----

In notices signed by Chief Health Director Kyu Rhee, IBM has told retirees in recent weeks that to keep receiving coverage, they will need to pick a plan offered through Extend Health, a large private Medicare exchange run by New York-based Towers Watson & Co.


"Cost increases under our current retirement group health care plan are no longer sustainable for you," IBM said in the notices. "Health care costs under IBM's current plan options for Medicare eligible retirees will nearly triple by 2020, significantly impacting your premium and out of pocket costs," the notice said.