Group Health is now Kaiser Permanente

March 6, 2017

Now that the Kaiser Permanente acquisition of Group Health is complete, you probably have some questions about what this means for you and your employees. The information below will help you understand what to expect during the transition. We’ll keep you informed as we learn more, and we’ll update our website dedicated to information about the acquisition: kp.org/wa/kp.

Answers to your questions

Yes. Kaiser Permanente's acquisition of Group Health Cooperative and its subsidiaries became final on Feb. 1, 2017.
Yes. The Group Health name changed to Kaiser Permanente. Group Health Cooperative plans are now Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington plans. Group Health Options, Inc. health plans are now Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington Options, Inc. plans. The Kaiser Permanente name, brand, and logo will appear in medical offices, on employee apparel, on member identification cards, on public websites, and more.
Kaiser Permanente will continue relationships with established hospital partners such as Overlake Medical Center, Seattle Children's, Swedish, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children's Hospital, and CHI Franciscan.
Yes. By investing in facilities, technology, equipment, and people, Kaiser Permanente plans to improve affordability, quality, and service for members and the overall health of the community. Kaiser Permanente has committed to invest $800M to support the communities throughout Washington over the next decade. The acquisition also includes a commitment to invest $1 billion over the next ten years to expand and modernize facilities and technology and improve both care and service.
Yes. We have begun sending new Kaiser Permanente ID cards to members. The new ID cards feature the Kaiser Permanente logo. Member numbers, however, will remain the same. Members should use their new Kaiser Permanente ID card for all their health care services.
Yes. Becoming part of Kaiser Permanente did not change the 2017 plan or benefits Group Health members selected during the most recent Open Enrollment period. The acquisition does not affect 2017 premiums, benefits, or cost shares for plans Group Health members selected during 2016 Open Enrollment.
Yes. Members can continue to see the doctors and care teams they count on. They can continue to receive care at the same locations and hospitals they did before the acquisition.
Yes. Members can continue to get convenient walk-in care at CareClinics, inside select Puget Sound-area Bartell Drugs. And members can still call our Consulting Nurse Service for care advice 24/7 at the same phone number.
Members are able to access their personal online accounts to manage their health from a computer or smartphone. Members can sign in from the home page at kp.org/wa, using the same member number that they had as Group Health members. When members receive care at Kaiser Permanente medical offices, they can call email their care teams, jus like they could in the past.
Many Group Health members have long been able to receive care at Kaiser Permanente facilities while traveling outside of the Group Health coverage area, although some services at Kaiser Permanente require pre-authorization.
No. We are not rebranding the benefits booklet and SBC's previously made available to members prior to the acquisition. Instead, members will receive an endorsement (insert for Medicare) that they can attach to their booklet.
Yes. There is a new local number (206-630-4636) but the toll-free number remains the same (1-888-901-4636). Customer Service is now known as Member Services.
No. A letter and endorsement will be mailed to small group and fully insured large group members with coverage effective prior to March 2017. Our Account Management team will reach out to our self-insured clients and their producers to discuss communication options to notify members of the name change.

Checks should be made payable as follows:

Prior to March 6, 2017
Group Health Cooperative or Group Health Options

After March 6, 2017
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington OR Kaiser Permanente Options
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington Options, Inc. OR Kaiser Permanente Options

Since both organizations are separate legal entities, we require separate payments from groups with both an HMO and PPO plan. For groups that elect to make payment via ACH or wire transfer, please be sure to note your group number to help expedite the processing of your payment.

The bank will still accept checks made out to Group Health for an extended period of time. The payment will still be applied to your account.
The name and logo will be different but all other data remains the same.
Only the look and feel of it has changed; none of the functionality has changed.
Yes. A new guide will be created with screen shots of the new look and feel of the site.
No. Continue to use your same password. If you have a bookmark, it will take you to the home employer public page. Just click on “Employer Sign On” and you will be directed to the normal sign on page to get into the Employer Portal.
No. Your contract is the same.
The expected time processing time remains the same. Our goal is to process all eligibility requests within 48 hours.
No. The phone number will remain the same.
It is likely that eventually a change to the URL will need to be made. However, for the month of March, using the old URL will redirect you to the Kaiser page.
No, not at this time. Group Health email addresses will be updated to reflect a kp.org address in the coming months. You will be notified by your various contacts once their email address is updated.