How the WellCare acquisition is driving Centene’s strategy to Medicare Benefit


Centene is rising its Medicare Benefit (MA) footprint by 30% in 2021.

The insurer stated that it’ll provide MA plans in 1,249 counties throughout 33 states subsequent yr, a rise of 30% from plan yr 2020. Centene will transfer into two new states, Rhode Island and Vermont, and add plans in about 275 counties.

Centene can also be bringing PPO plans to 10 extra states wherein it already affords HMO plans, in line with an announcement.

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Michael Polen, Centene’s senior vp and CEO of Medicare Options, informed Fierce Healthcare that the purpose is to succeed in as many beneficiaries as potential with all kinds of choices to allow them to make the alternatives that work finest for them.

“We proceed to concentrate on increasing so we have now a product portfolio that may actually be engaging to each kind of beneficiary that’s on the market,” Polen stated.

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Centene finalized its acquisition of WellCare Well being Plans in January, and integrating the 2 corporations was a serious endeavor over the course of this yr. The $17 billion merger created one of many largest sponsors of presidency protection within the nation.

Polen stated the staff is “excited” in regards to the progress alternatives the combination affords. Traditionally, Centene was not as aggressive within the Medicare area particularly, however bringing WellCare into the fold kicked these efforts into excessive gear.

“There was a whole lot of concentrate on actually bringing the Centene group and the WellCare group collectively, and that was a giant focus of this yr: to essentially capable of proceed to maneuver ahead with our final technique to proceed to be an business chief within the Medicare area,” he stated.

He added that the energy of their mixture affords another available in the market to the legacy gamers, which provide plans which are administered by a government-market targeted group.

RELATED: Centene to broaden ACA alternate footprint by practically 400 counties in 2021

Very similar to a lot of its friends within the business, Centene additionally has additionally put emphasis on telehealth, digital care and residential well being choices within the wake of the pandemic. Polen stated amongst Medicare beneficiaries, Centene noticed near-zero utilization skyrocket as a consequence of COVID-19.

These providers will likely be obtainable with no cost-sharing for members heading into 2021 as properly, he stated.

House choices like telehealth and distant monitoring enable members to play a larger function in directing their very own care, Polen stated.

“From a well being plan perspective, we’re very supportive of that as a result of what we’re in search of is to permit members to have interaction of their healthcare,” he stated.

Open enrollment for Medicare Benefit begins Oct. 15.


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