VCU Health System and Optima Health agree on joint ownership of Virginia Premier Health Plan

New relationship will bring together mission-driven, Virginia-based organizations with a strong history and commitment to serving our communities

Share this story

VCU Health System and Optima Health Plan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sentara Healthcare, have agreed that Optima Health will become the majority owner of Virginia Premier. VCU Health System will retain a 20 percent ownership stake in Virginia Premier. Together, the plans will serve nearly 800,000 members.

Virginia Premier and Optima Health will continue as two separate companies and retain their respective names and brands in the marketplace. Virginia Premier will maintain an operations center in Richmond and a presence in other areas in the Commonwealth. The transaction is expected to be finalized by the spring of 2020, pending state and federal regulatory review and customary closing conditions. 

“As provider-led health plans, Optima Health and Virginia Premier share similar cultures, values and a commitment to delivering innovative services that meet the unique needs of the populations we serve,” said Dennis A. Matheis, president of Optima Health and executive vice president of Sentara Healthcare. “Together, we will be better positioned to increase access to quality care, achieve greater efficiencies, and develop new services to improve our members’ overall experience.”

The agreement brings together two community-focused, Virginia-based organizations with deep roots in the Medicaid program and experience serving the Commonwealth. Optima Health and Virginia Premier are two of the state’s original Medicaid managed care organizations.

“Both health plans are pioneers in managed Medicaid programs, and we share a long history of caring for Virginia’s most vulnerable residents,” said Linda Hines, CEO of Virginia Premier. “Together, we are strategically positioned to enhance benefits to our members and continue investing in our communities. We look forward to sharing the best from each organization to create new solutions to help all members improve their health while more effectively managing health care costs.”

Optima Health and Virginia Premier health plan members will continue to have access to their doctor and the same benefits and will continue to use their current insurance card. Over time, members will benefit from improved programs and services, and broad access to providers.