Mayo Clinic announced on Monday that it had partnered with Medica to begin offering “a new health plan for individuals and families in southern Minnesota that comes at a lower cost than other available options.”

The plan will be available for a Jan. 1 2015, effective date and the release stated that it can be purchased both on and off MNSure.

The plan includes medical care at Mayo Clinic and throughout Mayo Clinic Health System — including Mayo’s Faribault clinic — as well as Northfield Hospitals & Clinics and Winona Health, the press release said.

“We constantly strive to make Mayo Clinic care more accessible and affordable in the communities we serve,” said Brian Whited, vice-chair of operations for Mayo Clinic Health System. “Through this arrangement, consumers can get the Mayo Clinic care they want and need to support their health and wellness and get it at a lower cost.”

According to the release, the focus of the plan is to provide a seamless care experience from the insurer and the provider with an emphasis on whole-person, comprehensive care. Consumers who purchase the plan will have access to Mayo Clinic’s knowledge and resources.

“For people in Rice County, it expands access and promotes choice,” said Scott Richardson, spokesperson for Northfield Hospitals & Clinics. “There is a segment of the market that places a high value on Mayo Clinic services. By offering those at a lower premium, this will make that more doable.”

Richardson also noted the importance of the seamless care experience, saying that the connection between local providers in Northfield and Mayo Clinic would be smoother.

Adam Brase, with the Mayo Clinic Health System Public Affairs office, said Mayo has had a long relationship with Medica and has worked on many projects with them.

“As both organizations looked at their respective data, we came to the conclusion that we could develop a product that would benefit consumers and reduce health care expense,” Brase said. “For the past year, we’ve been discussing how to make Mayo Clinic care more accessible and affordable in southern Minnesota and this was an outgrowth of those discussions.

“Because the majority of the care will be provided within the Mayo Clinic system or through close partners, we’re better able to track the care and help patients manage their health and healthcare expense.”

Kevin Krein is a general assignment reporter for the Northfield News. You can reach him at 507-645-1106.

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