The LIHD Board of Commissioners wants to thank the more than 200 Lopezians who took part in the 2019 Health Care Survey. Results are being tabulated and an analysis will be presented at the July 24th Regular Board meeting. A summary report will be posted on the website by the end of July.
In addition to this work, we know insurance concerns are top of mind for Lopezians. The LIHD Superintendent has been staying in close contact with the Office of the WA Insurance Commissioner (OIC), as well as the contracting teams at LifeWise (Premera) and UW Medicine. We are optimistic that through her diligence and advocacy, supported strongly by the three SJC Public Hospital District Boards, the OIC has recognized the unique challenges of our rural, remote community, and has requested more information from LifeWise on both air ambulance services and network access.
In response to concerns raised, LifeWise is revisiting their Access Plan to ensure they will be able to provide access to all medically necessary covered services within time and distance standards required by the OIC. As of this morning, the contracting team at UW Medicine confirmed that LifeWise is now willing to consider the UW Medicine Lopez Island Clinic as in-network. While the contracting process is not completed, this is welcome news.
It’s important to note that all of the information reported is specific to individual and small group plans. We are continuing to seek out details from the appropriate parties to determine what Medicare plans will be available in the coming year. It’s likely there will not be an individual Medicare Advantage option; however, nothing is confirmed to-date.
We recognize this is a stressful time, and Lopezians are anxious about the health care offerings in 2020. We will continue to share information as soon as it becomes available. For now, we hope that the community can rest a little easier knowing that your interests are being very well represented.