Sutter Health Network Announces New HMO Health Plan

The Sacramento-based Sutter Health network of doctors and hospitals has named its new HMO health plan Sutter Health Plus.

Initially, Sutter Health Plus will offer a range of HMO plans to individuals and small and midsize employers in the greater Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley regions. Sutter plans to hold open enrollment this fall, with coverage to begin Jan. 1.

Sutter Health doctors and hospitals will continue to contract with most major health plans.

Sutter is getting back in the HMO game after a nearly 15-year absence.

In May 1999, Sacramento-based HMO Omni Healthcare, owned by Sutter Health and St. Joseph’s Regional Health System of Stockton, announced that it was pulling the plug on operations, designating Blue Cross of California as its successor. Omni then covered about 124,000 Northern Californians but reported a $2 million loss in 1998.

Analysts have cited a better-regulated environment for HMOs, plus the federal Affordable Care Act, which opens up new markets for health insurers. They’ve also pointed to aging baby boomers who are shopping for affordable care.

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