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New Medicare Advantage company enters South Florida market

South Florida Sun Sentinel - 10/1/2018

Oct. 01--When Medicare's open enrollment period opens on Oct. 15, South Florida seniors who are choosing a Medicare Advantage plan will see a new insurance company among their options.

Devoted Health, a new health-care company, is offering two Medicare Advantage plans for the first time and only in eight counties in South and Central Florida. Both plans are HMOs with a narrow network of primary care providers and a larger network of specialists and hospitals.

The company's South Florida plans will include Cleveland Clinic, Holy Cross Hospital, and a handful of independent doctors as in-network providers.

"Our philosophy of network is different from many other plans," said Dariel Quintana, the company's Florida market president. "We believe in networks that include a robust network of hospitals and specialists and have a hand-selected smaller network of primary care physicians who have experience in providing better health outcomes."

Founded in 2017, the Massachusetts-based Devoted Health is among a small crop of venture-backed startups such as Clover and Bright Health, targeting the growing aging population.

Total Medicare spending is expected to grow from $583 billion in 2018 to $1.3 trillion in 2028, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The reasons are an aging population, the growth of Medicare enrollment due to the baby boomer generation reaching the age of eligibility, and an increase in health-care costs, according to the foundation.

Devoted Health was founded by brothers Ed and Todd Park, who co-founded Athenahealth, a cloud-based practice management and electronic health records systems. Its chief of technology D.J. Patil, is the former U.S. chief data scientist.

"We're Silicon Valley meets health care meets insurance," said Quintana. "We're not Silicon Valley trying to impose Silicon Valley onto health care."

Quintana said the company uses cutting-edge technology and customer service that includes nurses and social workers to provide seamless care for members.

"We're an extension of the primary care provider. For example, this member is sick and they don't have transportation of their own and they take care of grandkids at 3 p.m., so we better get them to the doctor right now. So our guide is empowered to pick up the phone to call the primary care doctor, call a transportation company and figure out how can we take care of this patients. It's all about execution."

Dr. Wanda Berrios-Diaz, a physician with VIPcare, a large independent practice group that's part of Devoted Health's network and provides care to Medicare patients only, said she liked the company's philosophy of care for the elderly population.

"This population get stressed and anxious when they don't have referrals. And [Devoted Health] takes care of that," she said.

Devoted Health received its Florida license to offer Medicare Advantage plans earlier this month. In addition to Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, it's offering plans in Hillsborough, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk and Seminole counties.

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(c)2018 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 
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