Virginia Premier and Sentara Health Announcement Member FAQs

VCU Health System and Sentara Healthcare, a regional not-for-profit healthcare system, announced an agreement to terms for a transaction that will enable Sentara to purchase 80 percent majority ownership of Virginia Premier, the health plan of VCU Health System, which will retain a 20 percent stake. 

The joint ownership means that Virginia Premier and Optima Health will combine their management teams and staff using one set of operating systems, but they will operate two separate health plans. Virginia Premier will continue to operate under its current name.

This means members will not experience any immediate changes to their current health plan or benefit levels as a result of this joint ownership.

Why are Virginia Premier and Sentara creating a joint ownership?

Virginia Premier and Optima Health believe they are stronger together. We are better positioned to care for our members and create new solutions to help improve their health while more effectively managing health care costs.

What changes should I expect?

There will be no immediate impact to Virginia Premier members as a result of this news. Optima Health and Virginia Premier members will continue to have access to their doctor and the same benefits and will continue to use their current insurance card. Over time, members will benefit from improved programs and services.

Will I be forced to move to an Optima Health plan?

No. Virginia Premier members do not have to change plans.

Will I still be able to see my doctor?

Yes. We do not anticipate any changes in the Virginia Premier provider networks as a result of this joint ownership. Over time, members will benefit from improved programs and services.

Will my benefits, premiums or co-pays change?

No. We do not anticipate any immediate changes as a result of this joint ownership. Over the long term, we expect that Virginia Premier and Optima Health members will benefit from improved programs and services.

What does this mean for open enrollment? If I pick a plan now, will it change in a few months?

Members who elect to remain with Virginia Premier during the 2020 open enrollment period will not experience any changes to their plans during the upcoming benefit plan year. Over time, members will benefit from improved programs and services.

When is the joint ownership expected to be finalized?

The joint ownership is expected to be finalized by the spring of 2020.

Will I be receiving new benefits ID cards?

No. Because there will be no changes to your plan benefits, you will continue to use your existing ID cards

How with this impact pending prior authorization, ongoing care or treatment, or payment of claims?

Virginia Premier and Optima Health will continue to operate as separate organizations until the joint ownership is finalized by the spring of 2020. Once the joint ownership is finalized, our organizations will work together to ensure a seamless transition for our members and provider partners. We do not anticipate any delay in authorizations, treatments or claims payments.

Who should I contact if I have questions?

Should you have questions about this joint ownership, please contact our Member Services team at https://www.virginiapremier.com/about-us/contact-us/ or by calling the number on your benefits ID card 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.

Will I be reassigned to a different plan as a result of this transaction?

No. Virginia Premier and Optima Health will continue to serve their respective members and their current plan names will not change. Over time, members will benefit from improved programs and services.

How does this affect the 2020 Medicaid open enrollment period? Will members be reassigned or need to do anything differently?

Members who elect to remain with Virginia Premier during the upcoming open enrollment period will not experience any immediate changes to their benefits or provider network as a result of the joint ownership.

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