Employers and individuals in the Lehigh Valley will have more insurance options from Geisinger Health Plan, which announced Wednesday that it is expanding in the region through a partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network.
Geisinger Health Plan is owned by Geisinger Health System, a nonprofit health care provider based in Danville, Montour County.
Geisinger’s expansion and partnership with St. Luke’s was announced Wednesday at a press conference at the St. Luke’s Conference Center in Bethlehem Township.
The Geisinger Health Plan will become the exclusive provider to the more than 10,000 St. Luke’s employees beginning Jan. 1. In addition, the two health systems will analyze and share health data gathered on members and integrate the information in ways to help improve the quality of services, such as reducing redundant tests, and cut costs, officials said.
St. Luke’s shift to the Geisinger Health Plan is expected to save St. Luke’s $500,000 a year, according to a news release.
“Geisinger Health has a great health plan; we’ve admired it from afar,” said Richard A. Anderson, president and CEO of St. Luke’s, which worked on bringing Geisinger’s health insurance to St. Luke’s for 2 ½ years.
Dr. David T. Feinberg, president and CEO of Geisinger Health System, said its company has been able to provide less expensive health insurance plans in the markets it serves while improving patients’ care.
Feinberg said the idea is to move away from a fee-for-service insurance model, or “from volume to value.”
Geisinger and St. Luke’s will offer a new Medicare Advantage product on services not covered under traditional Medicare and Medigap plans. The Geisinger Health Plan already provides the management of pharmacy services to St. Luke’s employees.
Geisinger’s health insurance plans in the Lehigh Valley will be available from Geisinger itself, insurance brokers and the Affordable Care marketplace, officials said. Geisinger Health Plan offers the second least-expensive Silver level marketplace plan in the region, said Chris Fanning, chief marketing at Geisinger.
Some of the plans are awaiting regulatory approval from the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, officials said.
More than 550,000 people are covered by Geisinger Health Plan in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and Maine. Pennsylvania is the fifth-largest insurance market in terms of premium volume in the United States.