Styf leaves Kaiser for joint insurance plan: WellStar, Piedmont on target to offer health insurance in 2014
by Rachel Miller
June 07, 2013 11:57 PM | 10953 views | 9 9 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dan Styf
Dan Styf
MARIETTA — WellStar Health System and Piedmont Healthcare have partnered to offer their own insurance plan, and community leader Dan Styf of east Cobb has been named the No. 2 person to build and run that corporation.

Called the Piedmont WellStar Health Plan, the new corporation — which will be run out of Vinings — launches in January 2014.

“The opportunity to improve the care of that many people is humbling and impossible to pass up,” Styf said.

Styf left his job as a vice president with Kaiser Permanente to accept the new position, which he begins Monday.

Styf also serves as a co-chair for Cobb’s Competitive EDGE, the county’s economic development program and is vice chair for economic development on the Cobb Chamber’s Executive Committee.

Available to the general public, Piedmont WellStar Health Plan’s coverage will include Medicare Advantage plans, as well as HMOs and PPOs.

WellStar and Piedmont employees will have access to buy into the insurance, but Medicaid recipients are prohibited by state law, Styf said.

Booting the middle man

Piedmont and WellStar chose to offer their own health insurance plan through the subsidiary as a way of reducing costs by cutting out the middle man.

“If you’re a small employer in Marietta, and you want to buy health care coverage for your employees, why not go straight to the health care system that’s going to deliver it?” Styf said. “Why do you need a middle man in the middle of that?”

Leaders of WellStar and Piedmont systems saw a large wave building from increasing medical costs, especially with the rising number of people reaching the age to qualify for Medicare.

“These two organizations realize they can improve health care faster by working together rather than competing in the market place,” Styf said.

From a business perspective, Styf said billing is the biggest expense for providing medical insurance. The best way to make health care more affordable, Styf said, is to put every aspect in the same system, which for WellStar and Piedmont is a large network.

“When a delivery system has its own health plan they do not need to bill themselves,” he said.

WellStar Health System CEO Reynold Jennings said he was pleased that Styf had joined “our team.”

“His leadership expertise from Kaiser, who has been involved with clinical integration for decades, combined with his proven community involvement fits very well within our system,” Jennings said.

Call the doctor

Styf said under the Piedmont WellStar Health Plan, doctors will play a larger role in patient care, compared to independent insurance companies that can deny treatments based on cost.

It is more about working together than seeking permission, he said.

Styf said a key to making the new insurance plan a success is that its CEO is Ronnie Brownsworth, M.D., the CEO of the Piedmont Clinic. “I think having a doctor with an M.D. after his name speaks to what, as an organization, we are all about,” he said.

Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Mich., Styf, 38, moved to Cobb County in 2008 with his wife, Sarah, after years in Detroit and Washington D.C.

“Our community means an awful lot to me, and I’ve invested a lot of myself and my personal time in trying to make this community better, and these two delivery systems care for so many people in our communities, it’s a chance to have a really broad influence,” Styf said of his new role.

“In every business, probably the biggest barrier to our economy growing in my own personal mind right now is solving the affordability and quality problem in health care, and this is a great chance to be part of that.”

Marietta-based WellStar and Atlanta-based Piedmont serve a population of more than three million. The two health care systems have a combined 2,393 hospital beds, 10 hospitals, seven urgent care centers and more than 700 physicians in the Piedmont Physicians Group, Piedmont Heart Institute, and the WellStar Medical Group.
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July 02, 2013
The middle man is the insurance company, brokers will still be part of the equation.
August 22, 2013
Evolent is the health care insurance company that pied/Wellstar contracts with. So who is the middle man.?
just so you know
June 10, 2013
this hit the paper a little too soon, but then R.jennings at WS wanted his name in the paper since it has been awhile. not only did he give wrong info , one would think he is running the show.... FYI: HE ISNT
Bob Bummer
June 09, 2013
And soon to come: health insurance companies start opening and/or buying hospital and doctors' offices. Ex: Blue Cross/Shield Hospital, Aetna General Hospital, United Healthcare Urgent Care Offices, Cigna Critical Care Center, Humana Hospital and Rehab, Keiser Wellness Center, etc.
June 08, 2013
Interesting idea and I look forward to learning details. I have concerns that services that are not profitable may not be offered even though they could be successful methods of treatment. Also, what would one do if treatment is needed while out-of-town or out-of-state and not in WellStar's/Piedmont's area of service?
Bob Bummer
June 09, 2013
This was already tried under the Promina Health Systems name and John Oxendine forced Wellstar to get out of the insurance business. How quickly we forget.
Its Kaiser light
June 28, 2013
Its KP. Evolent Healthcare is the Permanente for profit medical group and Piedmont Wellstar is Kaiser Healthplan.
My broker
June 28, 2013
Not very Broker friendly ! It will be hard to gain contracts directly cutting out Brokers(Middle Men) who use alot of these services! A bad start for the new health plan Mr.Styf !!
Dr Truth
October 20, 2013
The free market system will take care of that. And as for as what B. Bummer said about the insurance commissioner forcing Wellstar out of the insurance business... as a doctor let me say this... the best health insurance you can have IS your hospital... and Oxendine and any insurance commissioner is YOUR employee... if you do not agree with what he is doing then tell him... if he doesn't stop fire him!!!! And to Kaiser light... you can take Kaiser back to hell where Mr. Kaiser is now. And to My broker... we do not need brokers (i.e. crooks) in health care. All we need is doctors and patients and when that happens all you 10 million dollar a year Ins CEO's can go with Kaiser!! You have been killing people for decades... PARTY IS OVER!!
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