Steward Health Care, Fallon Community Health Plan and Retailers Association of Massachusetts launch new low-cost health insurance option

Boston, February 13, 2012—Today, Steward Health Care System (Steward), Fallon Community Health Plan (FCHP) and the Retailers Association of Massachusetts (RAM) announced the launch of Steward Community Care, a new limited network product that will be the primary offering of the Retailers Association’s newly-approved group purchasing cooperative. Steward Community Care offers comprehensive coverage with premium savings of at least 20%. The product offers plan designs with no deductible as well as options with deductibles for increased savings on monthly premiums.

Earlier this year, the Retailers Association of Massachusetts was certified by the Division of Insurance as one of the Commonwealth’s first group purchasing cooperatives. In addition to offering the product through the Retailers Association’s group purchasing cooperative, Steward Community Care is available to all small business in the product’s coverage area through FCHP. An advantage for businesses is that Steward Community Care can be offered alongside any one of FCHP’s other network options. This low cost product is the result of an innovative collaboration between a health plan, health care system and small business.

"I am pleased that the Retailers Association of Massachusetts has been able to quickly create a group purchasing cooperative that can offer new benefits and potentially lower rates for small businesses and working families,” said Governor Patrick. “This is another positive step forward in our efforts to put the brakes on rapidly escalating insurance costs."

Steward Community Care is built around Steward Health Care’s high-quality network of ten community hospitals and 2,200 primary care physicians and specialists. Under the plan, clinically appropriate care will be delivered by a hospital or physician within the Steward network. All health care services that cannot be delivered by the Steward network will be delivered by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Tertiary-level pediatric care will be provided by the MGH for Children.

“Small business is a vital economic engine, particularly in the communities served by Steward hospitals,” said Ralph de la Torre, MD, CEO of Steward. “This innovative new product will give small business owners the ability to reinvest in their businesses and provide the security of comprehensive health insurance to their employees.”

“This will give our members and their employees a unique opportunity to become healthier, to be better consumers of health care, and to save significant premium dollars now and in the future,” said Jon B. Hurst, President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. “The RAM Health Insurance Cooperative not only seeks to benefit our small business members, but to also move the marketplace into a future where you don’t have to work for big business or big government to get quality and affordable coverage.”

In 2002, FCHP pioneered the use of limited network products that offer savings of at least 12 percent over the premium price of broader network products by utilizing the best community providers and the most appropriate health care settings, particularly for routine tests and procedures.

"We're delighted to use our pioneering experience and to work with these similarly forward-thinking organizations to bring relief to small businesses and create a new model for the Commonwealth,” said W. Patrick Hughes, FCHP President and CEO.

Christine Cassidy
Fallon Community Health Plan 
christine.cassidy@fchp.org

Chris Murphy
Steward Health Care
christopher.murphy@steward.org

Jon Hurst
Retailers Association of Massachusetts
jhurst@retailersma.org

About Steward Health Care
Steward Health Care is the largest fully integrated community care organization and community hospital network in New England. Headquartered in Boston, Steward is the third largest employer in MA with more than 17,000 employees serving more than one million patients annually in 85 communities. Hospitals in the system include Saint Anne’s in Fall River, Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, Norwood Hospital, Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill, Morton Hospital and Medical Center in Taunton and Quincy Medical Center. Other Steward Health Care entities include Steward Medical Group, Steward Hospice and Home Care, Laboure College, and Por Cristo. Further information is available at www.steward.org .

About the Retailers Association of Massachusetts
The Retailers Association of Massachusetts is a statewide trade association formed in 1918, serving more than 3500 stores and restaurants of all types and sizes. For more information, visit www.retailersma.org .

About Fallon Community Health Plan
Founded in 1977, Fallon Community Health Plan is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit health care services organization. From traditional health insurance products available throughout Massachusetts for all populations, to innovative health care programs and services for independent seniors, FCHP supports the diverse and changing needs of all those it serves. FCHP has consistently ranked among the nation’s top health plans, and is the only health plan in Massachusetts to have been awarded “Excellent” Accreditation by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for its HMO, Medicare Advantage and Medicaid products.