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Greenbelt HMO to be available to city employees


HealthPlus Inc., an expansion-minded health maintenance organization based in Greenbelt, announced yesterday that it has signed a contract to become one of several HMO plans available to city employees.

The agreement means HealthPlus, which presently serves 170,000 members in Maryland, Washington and Northern Virginia, will be exposed to 27,000 potential new customers in Baltimore. The HMO already has a contract with the Baltimore Teachers Union, which has 7,800 members.

"I think that we are viewing Baltimore as a very potentially strong market for us," HealthPlus Chief Operating Officer Virginia Dollard said. "There's been a lot of change in the Baltimore market among the major players, with Hopkins [Health Plan] being acquired by Prudential, the expansion of Aetna [Healthplans/Mid Atlantic] into Baltimore and the acquisition of CareFirst by Blue Cross [and Blue Shield of Maryland]."

HealthPlus has agreed to charge the city a set premium that will be paid to the HMO as new city members enroll. The amount of the premium was not disclosed.

"We got a number of unions in Baltimore expressing some interest in utilizing HealthPlus, so we're making the HealthPlus HMO available to all city employees, along with Prudential and a number of other HMOs," said Jesse Hoskins, the city's personnel director.

In August, HealthPlus extended its influence by moving into Harford and Cecil counties. It is one of four HMOs vying for 14,000 members in that area, following a decision by Prudential to pull out of the region.

HealthPlus, an affiliate of New York Life Insurance Co., had $141 million in revenues and just under $15 million in pre-tax profits last year.

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