Aspirus, Arise forming health insurance company

Aspirus and WPS Health Solutions this week announced they are creating a new health insurance company in north-central Wisconsin.

Starting later this year, Aspirus Arise Health Plan of Wisconsin — known publicly as Aspirus Arise — will begin marketing individual marketplace, small group, large group and self-funded plans in 16 counties in north-central Wisconsin, including Shawano County, for 2017 effective dates, pending approval from the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and other appropriate regulatory agencies.

Aspirus is a nonprofit health system based in Wausau. The integrated system has more than 7,000 employees and includes four hospitals in Michigan and four hospitals in Wisconsin, 50 clinics, home health and hospice care, pharmacies, critical care and helicopter transport, medical goods, nursing homes and Aspirus Network providers.

Arise Health Plan is part of the family of brands of WPS Health Solutions, which is based in Madison. Arise offers comprehensive health plan options and service to businesses and individuals.

“Aspirus and Arise have a successful record of working together to offer high-quality care with affordable prices,” said Mike Hamerlik, president and CEO of WPS Health Solutions. “Now, by expanding our relationship to form this health insurance company, we are better positioned to serve patients in a more personalized way.”

A holding company that is equally owned by Aspirus and WPS will provide governance for the new Aspirus Arise company.

“Aspirus and Arise are committed to improving the health of our communities by working together,” said Matt Heywood, CEO and president of Aspirus. “Our goal is to tackle the problem of affordability. At Aspirus, we believe we can best achieve that goal by partnering with a trusted insurance company that understands the marketplace in this region.”

Brett Davis, president of Aspirus Arise, said, “Aspirus Arise will provide direct access to high-value, personalized health care that improves health and wellbeing across all stages of life and every care need. We are focused on meeting the needs of individuals, families, and businesses in north-central Wisconsin.”

For 2016, Arise Health Plan will continue to offer cobranded Aspirus Arise individual and small-group health plans both on and off the federal health care marketplace.