Passport Health Plan sells to for-profit company

Sale of Passport Health will preserve west Louisville development

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A new sale promises to keep Passport Health Plan afloat.

Passport will go from a non-profit company to a for-profit company called Evolent.

“Our travails I think have been fairly well known,” Passport Health Plan CEO Mark Carter said.

Carter said they knew something had to be done and admitted, the sale is a bit sad.

“A little bit,” Carter said. “Well, it’s maybe more than a little bit.”

“We took our reserves down from about $230 million to about $90 million,” Carter said. “When we went down to $90 million we went below essentially a solvency threshold that requires the Department of Insurance to exercise some additional oversight.”

In comes Evolent. They already supplied most of Passport’s employees. The company says they’re confident they’ll be financially successful by making people healthier.

“By making people healthy, it allows you to have additional dollars to invest in additional clinical resources and that’s really what we’re trying to do,” Evolent National Medicaid President Scott Bowers said.

Bowers says he believes what sets them apart is data and their ability to use it to intervene before someone suffers from an expensive, chronic illness.

Evolent says members won't be impacted.

"The name is not changing, the services are not changing," Bowers said. "We're only going to work harder every day."

Carter said as part of the sale agreement, Evolent had to make some promises.

“We established four criteria, the first was minimal to no interruption of service to the members,” Carter listed. “Second was to maintain as many jobs and opportunities for our employees as possible, the third was that it was important for a cash infusion into the plan for the sponsors to realize some value for their interest and then the last was to do whatever we could to preserve the project in west Louisville.”

Evolent is committing to leasing 140,000 square-feet of that building for employees not only serving Kentucky, but also other states to which they hope to expand.

"The idea of a campus for health and well-being makes a lot of sense at 18th and Broadway," Bowers said.

Evolent could not give a time frame for when that building will be done, and said they have to talk to contractors and developers to figure all of that out.

The move was applauded by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

“Passport has been an invaluable healthcare provider for our citizens and a key partner for our city for decades, and I’m pleased that this agreement with Evolent promises a continuing healthcare choice for people in our community,” Mayor Fischer said in a statement. “I’m also pleased that the important development at 18th and Broadway will move forward. Finally, I want to thank Mark Carter for his stalwart leadership of Passport and his commitment to our city. A true servant leader, he’s always worked to help not only his company but his community.”

Kentucky Senator Gerald Neal was also happy about the deal.

“Following extensive conversations among Passport, Evolent, and sponsors, I am thrilled to say there has been a positive outcome that will continue Passport’s services in providing healthcare to over 300,000 Kentuckians,” said Senator Neal. “I, along with a group of legislators, openly advocated for the preservation of these crucial services that were threatened and moved to organize and engage citizens on this issue.”

The deal is expected to be finalized this fall.

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