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Inter Valley Health Plan ends operations after 43 years in Pomona

After serving the Inland region for 43 years, Inter Valley Health Plan will shut down operations at the end of the year due to declining enrollment.

The nonprofit Medicare Advantage healthcare insurance provider found it “difficult to compete in the current environment against companies with benefits and marketing budgets supported by membership in the millions,” CEO Michael Nelson said in a statement.

With its declining enrollment, the plan had become “a minnow in a sea of whales,” Nelson continued.

Nelson did not discuss current enrollment numbers, but in his statement he noted IVHP had 50,000 commercial members and 25,000 senior members at its peak enrollment in the late 1980s.

The decision to end operations, announced in October, wasn’t an easy one, health plan officials said. IVHP’s board of directors examined, with the help of a national consulting firm, all viable options to move forward.

“Ultimately, the company decided that an orderly wind down of operations would be necessary and prudent,” Nelson said.

In a separate message to members, Nelson said when it came time for IVHP to renew its contract with Medicare, “it became clear that in today’s highly competitive Medicare environment, we would not be able to continue to provide the high-level of benefits that you, our members, deserve.”

Current members are being asked through the Medicare annual open enrollment period to choose a new insurance plan for 2023.

However, services will continue as normal through December. Patients insured by IVHP who seek care at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center may still do so by enrolling with SCAN or United Healthcare, Nelson said.

IVHP’s service area includes Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties. However, IVHP has long been a recognizable organization in the Inland Valley, particularly in Pomona, where its headquarters are located at 300 S. Park Ave.

About 25 IVHP employees will transition to PVHMC, primarily focused on patient services, scheduling and clinical integration, Nelson said in an email Friday, Nov. 4.  About 115 workers are located at its Pomona headquarters, according to IVHP’s website.

IVHP was formed in 1979 by a small group of physicians and administrators from Pomona Valley hospital who saw a “need for a strong community health plan in the Inland Empire,” according to the company’s website.

“In our 43-year history, this is, without a doubt, the most difficult and heartbreaking news we’ve had to share,” Nelson said. “Thank you for entrusting your health care needs to us.”

Source: Orange County Register

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