HCFANY sent an e-alert out a couple of weeks ago about the sale of Fidelis Care, one of New York’s major non-profit health insurance companies, to a for-profit company called Centene. Fidelis Care has 1.7 million members and a social mission to provide affordable health coverage to as many people as possible. Losing it to a company that has no such mission could have a big impact on New York. Public comments on this sale are due to the Attorney General tomorrow.
Centene has already agreed to provide service in the same areas with the same networks for three years. And $3 billion in profits from the sale have been set aside to create a new charitable foundation whose activities are still being determined. But advocates are concerned because the public part of the process has been severely lacking. Too many decisions have been made already without adequate chances for the public to weigh in. For example, the board of the new foundation has limited to no representation for consumers. Instead, its proposed members represent finance and the health care industry. Advocates are also concerned about what will happen to consumers after three years, when Centene no longer has any obligation to continue Fidelis Care’s non-profit mission.
It is important that consumers weigh in on this change. We have to make sure that the people who depend on Fidelis are protected and that the billions in profits generated by the sale are used to meaningfully benefit the public. Advocates have drafted a full-length letter that you or your organization can download and use (find it here). There are also short bullet points below that can serve as a guide if you’d like to draft your own comments. Your comments can be as long or short as you wish – the important thing is to send them!
What We Want from the Attorney General
- A better public process – a sale of this magnitude should not happen without a longer comment period, a public hearing, and better notifications to current Fidelis enrollees.
- A foundation that truly serves consumers:
- The majority of board members should represent consumers who get health insurance through public programs and the individual market. The proposed board members represent the healthcare and finance industries – not consumers or community groups.
- The mission should be expanding health insurance coverage and making health insurance affordable. Fidelis Care has a social mission to provide affordable health coverage to as many people as possible; the new for-profit insurer has no such mission. The foundation should focus on mitigating that loss.