Hopkins agrees to sell HMO to Prudential


The Johns Hopkins Health Plan, one of the state's largest health-maintenance organizations, is being sold to Prudential Health Care Plan Inc. for an undisclosed amount, the two companies announced yesterday.

The proposed sale would pull the venerable Hopkins name out of the local HMO competition and catapult Prudential into a position as one of Maryland's largest HMOs as it absorbed nearly 115,000 Hopkins members.

Officials at the two companies stressed yesterday that the sale would not result in any disruption of medical services to members or physicians and hospitals serving the HMO. The sale is expected to be completed in late spring, pending state regulatory approval.

No replacement name has been chosen for the Hopkins HMO, but Prudential Health Care operates elsewhere as PruCare, a chain of 28 HMOs owned by Prudential Insurance Co., the largest commercial health insurer in the country.

Hopkins executives said the decision to sell resulted from changes in local HMOs since the Hopkins plan was created in 1984.

"If the world looked today as it looked in 1985, we truly wouldn't consider this," said Dr. Robert M. Heyssel, president of Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins Health System, which owns the Hopkins HMO.

But with a flood of new competition over the past decade, many large employers have increasingly looked for insurance companies that could provide an array of insurance coverage to their employees in Maryland and elsewhere across the country, Dr. Heyssel said.

Hopkins operates 80 health-care offices in Maryland. Eleven are owned and would be retained by the Johns Hopkins Health System after the sale to act as community clinics and also would serve members of the Prudential HMO.

The Hopkins Health Plan, which has slightly more than $30 million in assets, earned $143,892 during its first fiscal quarter, which ended Sept. 30, on revenue of $29.6 million. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, the company earned $2.48 million.

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