Tonawanda News

The Tonawandas

February 6, 2014

Independent Health to remain in Niagara County

Tonawanda News — A popular health insurance company announced Wednesday that it will remain in Niagara County. 

County residents enrolled in Independent Health’s MediSource program had recently received written notice that they would have to change providers since Independent Health was planning not to renew its contract with the state at the end of February, according to state Sen. George Maziarz, who noted that rising prescription medical costs caused the warning. 

 The insurers MediSource Medicaid Managed Care program is offered through New York State of Health, the state’s official health care exchange.

“Many of my constituents, including current Independent Health members, community-based organizations and providers contacted me with fears that they would lose an important health care partner if Independent Health no longer offered MediSource in Niagara County,” he said. “So I went to work to try to figure out a solution. Now, the organization’s decision to continue Medicaid coverage in Niagara County should allay concerns of beneficiaries and give hope to future health care improvements.”

Independent Health, a non-profit, was facing unsustainable financial losses to its Medicaid program in the county, Maziarz said, which were spurred by recently “carved-in” pharmacy benefits. But the insurers recent decision to continue coverage means that current enrollees will be able to retain their current Independent Health plan.

“People need access to health care options and this is good news for consumers in Niagara County,” he said.

Michael W. Cropp, president of Independent Health, said “new funding opportunities” from state and federal sources will allow it to remain by supporting “investment in providers that we believe is crucial.” 

“Improving access and care for Medicaid beneficiaries in Niagara County will lead to better quality, lower costs and a more sustainable Medicaid program for this community,” he said. 

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