Ex-HHS chief launches health insurance firm

Patriot Healthcare, a newly formed insurance company headed by the state’s former health and human services commissioner, is seeking regulatory approval to do business in the state.

Patriot, founded by Nicholas Vailas, is asking the state Insurance Department for permission to start selling group health insurance.

Vailas – who resigned his state position last year over questions about his efforts to start a private health insurance company and his national lobbying efforts on behalf of outpatient surgery centers — says Patriot Healthcare will be a for-profit company owned by doctors that will provide incentives to people to take better care of themselves.

Vailas is chairman and chief executive officer of the company.

“We are a physician-owned and locally managed company committed to putting healthcare decisions back in the hands of physicians and their patients,” Vailas said.

Patriot’s health plans will allow unrestricted access to its network of physicians and preferred health-care facilities, he said.

They also will feature incentives to use preferred providers, and it will allow clients to leverage their health-care dollars through tax-sheltered medical savings accounts, he said.

He said he hopes the firm can begin selling group health insurance in the first quarter of 2005.

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