Kaiser Permanente has reversed its decision to exclude Island Hospital primary care clinics in its Individual Medicare Advantage Plan. Therefore, IH primary-care providers (including doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants) will be “in-network” for the KP insurance plan in 2020.

In a letter to affected customers, KP noted it is “sorry for any inconvenience or concern these changes have caused.”

“We believe that Kaiser reversed their decision based on patients expressing their concern regarding this change and the realization of the importance our providers have to their network.” said Elise Cutter, Island Hospital chief financial officer and interim chief executive officer. “This is testimony to the outstanding care our providers deliver to their patients each and every day.”

Medicare Advantage plans are less expensive, but have more restrictions such as only covering costs for network providers and requiring use of specified facilities for more-acute levels of care.

“We appreciate that Kaiser has reversed this decision,” said IH chief medical officer Robert Prins MD. “All patients should have choices and options to obtain what they feel is the best quality care.”

The letter signed by Marc Mora, Kaiser senior vice president, noted “We look forward to caring for you in 2020 and working with Island Hospital and its providers for years to come.”

Those needing assistance choosing a Medicare plan are encouraged to contact the Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisor (SHIBA) program that operates in the Health Resource Center at Island Hospital at 360-299-4212.

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Published on November 8, 2019