Though it's early, part of the strategy may involve forming a narrow network of healthcare organizations making up the consortium, because as a contiguous group of non-overlapping health systems, many employees from all six systems can be found in each other's markets and seek care there already, says Slavin.
"Our employees live in each other's marketplaces," he says. "There's potentially a network there in the central and northern part of the state."
Joyce has spent the past 18 years on the payer side in New York before joining AHS, and sees the consortium as a way to work with like-minded organizations to share best practices and learn from one another.
He says he sees this partnership not as a vehicle toward consolidation, but as a way to learn from each other—using their own benefit plans as proving grounds—to lead the transition from fee-for-service to a more value-based reimbursement environment.
The consortium has sent out requests for proposals and expects to get bids throughout the spring. It will make a decision on a third-party administrator by late May. Open enrollment in the new plan will take place in the fall.
Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.