LACONIA — With the approval of the New Hampshire Insurance Department, the Tufts Health Freedom Plan, an insurance company owned by the members of the Granite Healthcare Network,LLC, among them LRGHealthcare of Laconia and Tufts Health Plan of Watertown, Mass., will begin offering health insurance throughout the small group market in New Hampshire.
The Tufts Freedom Plan was formed in March as the first health insurer owned by healthcare providers. LRGH joined with Catholic Medical Center (Manchester), Concord Hospital, Southern New Hampshire Health System (Nashua) and Wentworth-Douglass Health System (Dover) to create the Granite Healthcare Network in 2011 with the intention of leveraging the resources of its members to enhance the quality and control the cost of care by managing common risks, sharing best practices, exchanging information and making joint purchases.
Headquartered in Concord, the Tufts Health Freedom Plan expects to provide a broad network that will include all 26 hospitals in New Hampshire. The company will compete with other carriers for a share of the small group market, which represents about the lion's share of the insurance business in the state. The company will draw on the resources of the Tufts Health Plan to achieve operating efficiencies. Initially the Tufts Heath Freedom Plan will not be available on the New Hampshire Healthcare Exchange (Affordable Care Act).
Henry Lipman, senior vice-president of financial strategies and external relations at LRGHealthcare said yesterday that the partners in the Granite Healthcare Network and Tufts Health Plan are pursuing, "a shared vision to provide the highest quality of care at the most affordable costs" while seeking to sustain locally managed health care systems.
In a prepared statement Brian Wells, president of the Health Freedom Plan, said that the plan, "represents a fresh approach to health care coverage and we're very excited to be able to provide new options to the New Hampshire market. The plan," he continued, "has a diverse product offering, all designed to provide exceptional care management and an outstanding member experience while lowering the cost of providing health care."
The Tufts Freedom Plan is being offered through insurance brokerages with coverage slated to begin on January 1, 2016. At the same time, the approximately 15,000 employees, spouses and dependents of the five members of the Granite Healthcare Network, including some 2,300 at LRGHeathcare, are being enrolled in the plan.
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