ARCHIVED  December 1, 1996

HealthLink to expand into Boulder County

FORT COLLINS – HSI Health Plans Inc. has applied to expand the service area of its HealthLink HMO into Boulder County and expects to be in Weld County soon as well.

HSI applied in mid-November with the Colorado Division of Insurance to extend its reach into Boulder County and expects to receive final approval during the first quarter of 1997.
The HealthLink health-maintenance organization began service in Larimer and Morgan counties this fall. But enrollments have gone somewhat slowly, said Chuck Mabry, president of HSI.
HealthLink now includes fewer than 100 members and probably won’t meet the year-end goal of 250 by year’s end, Mabry said.
One reason has been that the HMO rolled out at a time when companies had already made their health-plan decisions for 1997. Additionally, negotiations with health providers in Weld County have been “slow and deliberate,” Mabry said.
“We’re having a challenging time extending our network like we wanted into the Weld County area,” Mabry said.
But with a contract expected to be signed soon with North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, and with expansion into Boulder County, the pace should pick up in enrollees, Mabry said.
HealthLink seeks to have 4,000 lives covered by the end of 1997, he said.
Weld County is essential for an HMO focused on Northern Colorado, but Mabry is also excited about entering the Boulder County market. He said the HMO has agreements with Boulder Community Hospital and with the Boulder Valley IPA, an individual practice association prominent in the market. Agreements with other Boulder County health-care providers are pending.
“We think we can have a very good-looking product down there,” he said.
One reason for the expansion southward is to make the HMO more attractive to Larimer County employers who have employees living in Boulder County. Likewise, many Boulder County employers have workers who live in Larimer County. That overlap makes it only natural for the HMO to be offered in both areas, Mabry said.
“We just think it’s a really good market for us,” he said.
HealthLink will use its contracts within the city of Boulder to get approval for the county, then will focus on signing contracts with providers in Longmont, where much of the employment/residential overlap between Boulder and Larimer counties exists.
“Quite a number of the employees who work up here live in the Longmont area,” he said, noting that the reverse is also true.
Mabry said that in the future, HealthLink might find that it needs to extend one more step southward, farther into the Denver market. That would accommodate overlap in employment/residences between that market and Northern Colorado and would allow streamlined referral of certain medical problems that can be treated only in the Denver area.Pru expands pharmacy network
Prudential HealthCare has expanded its pharmacy network, renegotiating its contract with King Soopers and signing contracts with Safeway, Walgreens and RxPlus+. The expansion added 222 network pharmaces along the Front Range.
Safeway pharmacies became available to members of Prudential HealthCare HMO Nov. 1, and Walgreens and RxPlus became accessible
Nov. 15.
Prudential HealthCare HMO contracts with 17 hospitals along the Front Range, including Longmont United Hospital and Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton. Additionally, Prudential’s point-of-service plan contracts with 24 hospitals, including Longmont United, McKee Medical Center in Loveland, North Colorado Medical Center, Platte Valley Medical Center and Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins.
The expansion of Prudential’s Front Range pharmacy network adds significantly to the list of pharmacies available to Northern Colorado enrollees.
Prudential HealthCare enrollees in Northern Colorado used to be able to use only King Soopers and a few rural pharmacies.
“As I’ve said before, we’re looking at all aspects of our business and asking, ‘What can we do here to improve service and access to our customers,'” Mark Donahue, executive director for Prudential HealthCare-Colorado, said in a statement. “We’re focusing on what our members and clients want – more choice.”
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FORT COLLINS – HSI Health Plans Inc. has applied to expand the service area of its HealthLink HMO into Boulder County and expects to be in Weld County soon as well.

HSI applied in mid-November with the Colorado Division of Insurance to extend its reach into Boulder County and expects to receive final approval during the first quarter of 1997.
The HealthLink health-maintenance organization began service in Larimer and Morgan counties this fall. But enrollments have gone somewhat slowly, said Chuck Mabry, president of HSI.
HealthLink now includes fewer than 100 members and probably won’t meet the year-end goal of 250…

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