Community group aims to save KPS

"Kitsap Physicians Service may be in poor health, but some community leaders are not going to give up on the local health insurance provider without a fight.An ad-hoc community group met for the second time with state Office of the Insurance Commissioner officials last Friday and presented proposals aimed at rehabilitating KPS. The health insurer provides policies for 71,000 to 80,000 residents in Kitsap, Clallam, Thurston and Mason counties.Locals involved in the rehabilitation effort include physicians Mark Adams, Paul McCullough, David Bray and Ron Reimer. Bremerton Mayor Lynn Horton, 23rd District State Rep. Phil Rockefeller, Harrison Memorial Hospital representative David Gitch, Kitsap Economic Development Council Executive Director Warren Olson and EDC chair Tim Arnold are also involved.According to the OIC, the community group focused on “goals of the receivership, steps needed to reach those goals, and the community support that has been lined up so far.”In response to a grassroots petition pressing for swift action in the KPS rehabilitation last week, OIC spokesperson Jim Stevenson said the support from Kitsap community members has been atypically strong. While some residents complained that the receivership is taking too long with few specific details, Stevenson said some locals are finding ways to support the health insurer.At this time, the OIC is not saying whether it seems more likely that the company will remain locally owned or if a larger, outside insurer will purchase it. The OIC did, however, release top management of KPS to save money on wages and make the insurer a more appealing purchase.The OIC and KPS board of trustees jointly requested the Thurston County Superior Court put the ailing company in receivership, or state financial control, on Aug. 3. The decision came after months of failed rehabilitation attempts within the company.In the ensuing weeks, the OIC receivership team has reported that KPS’ financial health appears worse than previously expected. In early August, both the company and the receivership team guessed KPS’ financial reserves were below the state-required level of $3 million with $15 million in losses over the past three years. More recent reports suggest KPS is actually in the red."

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