EmblemHealth is one of the United States' largest nonprofit health plans. It is headquartered at 55 Water Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is a $10 billion company with 3.1 million members.
EmblemHealth was created in 2006 through the merger of Group Health Incorporated (GHI) and the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York (HIP). GHI and HIP had been operating as separate companies in the New York region since 1937 and 1947, respectively.
Group Health Incorporated (GHI)
GHI – originally named Group Health Association of New York – was established in 1937 to provide New York’s working families with access to medical services regardless of cost. This new health care model – built around a network of participating providers – was a precursor to today’s preferred provider organization (PPO).
In order to expand its presence in the upstate New York market, GHI established GHI HMO as an incorporated entity in New York State in May 1999. The following month, GHI HMO acquired certain assets of Well Care Management Group, Inc.
In August 2005, GHI Select HMO acquired the assets, including the membership, of ABC Health Plans, which provides managed care services to Medicaid, Family Health Plus and Child Health Plus enrollees in Manhattan and The Bronx, New York.
Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York (HIP)
In 1943, New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and David M. Heyman convened a panel to explore the feasibility of offering pre-paid medical services to New Yorkers of “moderate means.” That panel led to the incorporation of HIP in 1944 as the first health insurance plan for public service workers, utilizing various medical centers throughout the city. More than 2,600 members of the Chefs, Cooks, Pastry Cooks and Assistants Local 89 became the first subscribers to HIP in 1947.
In 1997, HIP began offering its members medical services through a physician provider network, in addition to its medical centers.
On November 30, 2001, HIP acquired Vytra Health Plans Long Island along with certain related entities. Due to their steadily worsening financial condition, the decision was made to merge these entities into HIP, effective March 29, 2006.
In an effort to expand its service area, HIP acquired ConnectiCare Holding Company, Inc., a Connecticut corporation (“ConnectiCare Holding”) and its subsidiaries, on March 10, 2005. ConnectiCare was later established as an independent HMO is 1982. ConnectiCare serves approximately 240,000 members in a service area that includes the entire State of Connecticut; Berkshire, Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin and parts of Worcester counties in Massachusetts; and Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Orange Counties in New York. ConnectiCare’s members have access to a provider network of approximately 19,900 health care providers.
Merger of GHI and HIP
On September 29, 2005, the boards of directors of GHI and HIP announced an agreement to merge the two companies. The resulting company – to be named EmblemHealth – would be governed by a Foundation made up of an equal number of directors from both companies.
Anthony Watson, then chairman and CEO of HIP, managed the 2006 merger, which created the largest health insurer based in New York State.
In May 2013, Frank Branchini became chairman and chief executive officer, succeeding Watson, who retired. Watson's compensation, $8.8 million in 2011, was often discussed. In contrast, Mark Wagar, president and CEO of Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield (part of Anthem), the largest New York insurer, was paid $2.2 million.
Although discussions about for-profit conversion have taken place, the organization remains a non-profit.
In November 2012, EmblemHealth began establishing a community presence in its service area by launching a hybrid care coordination and wellness program called Neighborhood Care. The first two Neighborhood Care facilities were located in Harlem and Cambria Heights, Queens. Two additional Neighborhood Care sites were subsequently established in Chinatown in December 2013 and in Crown Heights in April 2016. Each Neighborhood Care site is a brick-and-mortar health care retail location where members and non-members alike can receive in-person medical guidance, referral assistance, medication support and connections to appropriate social services. The facilities also host informational sessions, health screenings, health and wellness activities, exercise classes, and sponsorships of local farmers' markets.
On May 21, 2015, it was announced that Karen Ignagni, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), would be leaving the industry’s powerful lobbying group to become President and CEO of EmblemHealth, effective September 1, 2015. Ignagni, who spent more than 20 years with AHIP, replaced Frank Branchini.
In January 2013, EmblemHealth announced a partnership with AdvantageCare Physicians (ACPNY).
In February 2016, EmblemHealth announced a new partnership with the City of New York and the Municipal Labor Committee to provide expanded access to health care. The partnership was also developed to support the City's goal of health care cost savings for NYC taxpayers. With a strong focus on preventive and primary care – such as $0 copays and telemedicine services – Emblem worked with the City and its Unions to develop new, accessible benefits to City employees and their families.
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