Yesterday, The Shreveport Times reported that Willis Knighton plans to cancel its 15 year old Health Plus insurance program which means some 500 companies will lose coverage; that's about 200,000 members.
The Times reports that the company will continue a self-funded plan to cover about 10,000 WK employees and family.
WK isn't the first company to pull coverage. The Times says that "Willis-Knighton is the third insurer since February to withdraw coverage in Louisiana, according to Karen Winfrey, a deputy commissioner with the state Insurance Department.Nippon Life Insurance Co. of America sent the department a withdrawal notice in February. First Health Life and Health Insurance Co. issued a withdrawal notice in March...In a letter to employers Monday, Health Plus CEO Patrick Bicknell cites a changing insurance market as one of the reasons Willis-Knighton decided to discontinue the plan. Health system officials also cited uncertainty surrounding national health care reform and its impact on the insurance industry."
Word among locals is that WK is anticipating a government takeover of health care and "is trying to stay ahead of the curve" while others believe that this move is a sure sign that health care is broken and that the national government SHOULD take it over. One comment in The Times article said, "Though I don't like the current reform proposal, what more proof does anyone need that the system is 100% broken If even hospitals can't afford to insure its own workers? This should be a clarion call to anyone on the fence. Its fine for us all to argue and debate WHAT should be done, but there should be zero argument that SOMETHING has to be done."
The most reliable word would theoretically come from WK officials who said, in the original Times article, "In a letter to employers Monday, Health Plus CEO Patrick Bicknell cites a changing insurance market as one of the reasons Willis-Knighton decided to discontinue the plan. Health system officials also cited uncertainty surrounding national health care reform and its impact on the insurance industry."
Whomever is to blame, what remains is that 500 companies are now looking for new carriers. There are several in this area to choose from and no doubt it will all get resolved. In the mean time, WK says they are shifting their focus "back to health care."
If you're a local affected by this decision, please leave your thoughts in the comments!
(Is it any coincidence that the WK site has a "fish" on it's logo? Fishy!)