Aetna Enters Lakeshore Market

June 25, 2003
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MUSKEGON — Aetna Inc., one of the largest managed-care companies in the United States, has signed a new participating agreement with Westshore Health Network, the physician-hospital organization of Mercy General Health Partners in Muskegon.

The new agreement for Aetna’s preferred-provider organization product (PPO) gives employers in the Muskegon area a new managed-care option to weigh for their employee health plans. It comes a year after Care Choices, a managed care plan owned by Mercy General parent company Trinity Health, pulled its HMO product from the West Michigan market.

The deal, which took effect June 1, covers Westshore Health Network’s 224 primary-care and specialty physicians and Mercy General’s hospital on an in-network basis.

“We are delighted to build this partnership with Aetna so that our physicians and hospital can be available to serve members in our community,” said Linda Bailey, executive director for Westshore Health Network. “Aetna shares a commitment to quality and service that provides value to their customers and our patients.”

Westshore Health Network and Aetna announced the participating agreement Tuesday afternoon.

The agreement doubles Aetna’s care network in Muskegon and expands it by 20 percent in West Michigan, to 1,336 physicians, including 637 primary-care doctors and 699 specialty physicians, and 17 acute-care hospitals.

Aetna now has about 26,000 members in West Michigan through its PPO, open-access, point-of-service and traditional indemnity health plans. The Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna provides medical benefits to about 13 million people nationwide.

"With the addition of this well respected physician-hospital organization to our network of participating physicians, we are able to give our members more of the choices that they have asked for, while continuing to bring quality health benefits to the Lakeshore area" said Lynn Henderson, vice president of sales for Aetna’s North Central Region.     

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