The wall between health care providers and health insurers continues to erode, as Ascension Health’s CEO acknowledges Ascension is in talks to acquire WellCare Health Plans. Ascension is the nation’s largest nonprofit health system, with 101 hospitals. WellCare is a Medicare and Medicaid managed care company with operations in 18 states, including 12 where Ascension has operations. Analysts speculate that Ascension is also in talks with Centene Corporation, as well. Centene, like Ascension, is based in St. Louis.
Ascension is not the only health system acquiring insurers. Catholic Health Initiatives, Partners HealthCare and Detroit Medical Center have all done so, as well.
Still other health systems have taken steps to build their own health plans from the ground up. These include Sutter Health, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health and a joint effort in Georgia by Piedmont Healthcare and WellStar Health System.