University of Iowa Health Care joins HealthPartners UnityPoint Health plan

University of Iowa Health Care complex, which houses University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. (The Gazette)

The University of Iowa Health Care will join the HealthPartners UnityPoint Health health care plan, making its providers available to more Medicare patients in Iowa and Illinois.

Starting Jan. 1, University of Iowa Health Care — which includes the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the Stead Family Children’s Hospital — will be included in the HealthPartners UnityPoint Health provider network for Medicare Advantage plans.

The health plan, which entered the market four years ago, is a joint venture between the Minnesota-based health insurance company HealthPartners and UnityPoint Health, the Iowa-based care system.

The health plan’s network also includes UnityPoint Health’s hospital’s and clinics, but is not managed by UnityPoint Health system.

By joining the provider network, Medicare patients under the HealthPartners UnityPoint Health plan would have access 1,700 clinicians in more than 200 specialties at University of Iowa Health Care.

“By increasing the number of clinicians and hospitals that are available to our members, we’re able to offer them more choices for their health care needs,” Becky Woody, vice president of health solutions with HealthPartners UnityPoint Health, said in a statement.

“These choices give them peace of mind, knowing they have access to high-quality care.”

According to officials, the HealthPartners UnityPoint Health plans — which are available to consumers in central Iowa and western Illinois — combine medical and prescription drug coverage. That is unlike some Medicare options, which requires that coverage to be purchased separately.

The announcement comes less than a year after University of Iowa Health Care announced it would exit the UI Health Alliance, a partnership with three other health systems that was established in 2012. UI Health System oversaw the alliance, which included MercyCare Service Corp., Genesis Health System and Great River Health Systems.

Officials also announced they would dissolve its accountable care organization in light of looming state and federal funding cuts and “uncertain financial headwinds.”

The enrollment period for Medicare plans ends on Dec. 7. More information can be found at

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