November 23, 2014

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CHP to end health insurance plan

LORAIN — Community Health Partners plans to discontinue supplemental health insurance it once offered to 95 retired employees from the former St. Joseph Hospital.

The former employees will be moved to Medicare supplemental insurance beginning March 31 and will have 63 days after that date to enroll in a new supplemental plan if they choose. A CHP employee has been designated to assist the retirees with the process so no one will be without insurance.

CHP will save about $200,000 each year by discontinuing the insurance plan, spokesman Patrick Crowley said. 
“It’s a way to bring in health care costs for the system,” he said. “The practice of providing supplemental coverage has been abandoned by the majority of business and industry, due to its significant cost and the current availability of affordable Medicare supplemental insurance and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.”

The plan offered by CHP, parent company of CHP Regional Medical Center in Lorain, was discontinued in the mid-1990s, around the same time St. Joseph Hospital in downtown Lorain closed. Since then, the plan has been changed several times, and retirees were told that discontinuation was always a possibility, Crowley said.

The hospital system has been struck by hard financial times recently, which has resulted in layoffs, including cutting 17 positions from non-patient care related areas.

CHP cited various reasons for the cuts, including Lorain’s 8.8 percent unemployment rate, which has resulted in more uninsured or underinsured patients at CHP facilities; government cutbacks on reimbursements for medical care; and some HMOs’ practice of paying Cleveland hospitals a higher rate than what is paid to CHP.

Contact Adam Wright at 653-6257 or awright@chroniclet.com.