Dr. Peter Beilenson, a staunch advocate for a single-payer health care system felt compelled to start an insurance company that broke the mold. Using federal funds allocated by the Affordable Care Act, Dr. Beilenson founded Evergreen Health Cooperative, which debuted this past October for open enrollment on Maryland's issue-ridden health exchange.
The Evergreen model is based partly on the Healthy Howard Health Plan, which launched in 2008 as an experiment to provide primary care to Howard County's uninsured population. Beilenson, as the county's health officer, was instrumental in crafting that program.
When asked about the impact that the Evergreen model has on businesses and the economy after about 295,000 people enrolled in private insurance or Medicaid on Maryland Health Connection.
Dr. Beilenson responded, "assuming that a significant percentage of those who obtained new coverage were previously un- or underinsured, that will translate into much less uncompensated care at hospitals, which is immediately passed on to all Maryland consumers who have insurance. Businesses will have less absenteeism, and productivity will increase, especially in small businesses because those employees are more likely to not have had insurance".
Beilenson explains his interest in the system, "I've always been an advocate for a single-payer system, now more than ever. It's ironic that I'm CEO of an insurance company — it would obviously put me out of business — but it's very clear there are immense savings and economies of scale in doing things like payment reform and telemedicine".
Read more from the interview here.
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