Essence Healthcare Expands Provider Network to Include SSM Health’s Primary Care Physicians

Healthcare organizations collaborate to deliver high quality, affordable care to more St. Louis area Medicare beneficiaries

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 4, 2022 —  ESSENCE HEALTHCARE, a Lumeris owned and operated health plan, announced today that all St. Louis area primary care physicians at SSM Health are accepting Essence’s Medicare Advantage plans as of Oct. 1, 2022.

“This expanded collaboration with SSM Health will give current and future Essence plan members more choices when it comes to physicians and hospitals, while ensuring high quality care and providing patients with a better overall experience throughout their healthcare journey,” said Umar Farooq, President of Essence.

Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. Essence’s plan is among a short list of plans nationwide awarded Medicare’s highest overall plan rating of 5 out of 5 stars for 2022. The plan was also once again awarded “Best Medicare Advantage plan” in Missouri for 2022 by U.S. News & World Report.

“We could not be more excited to begin accepting Essence’s Medicare Advantage plans as we continue our Mission of providing exceptional health care services and revealing God’s healing presence to those we serve,” said Dr. Kalyan Katakam, Vice President of Medical Practice at SSM Health. “Together, we are able to better serve and provide greater access and convenience to those who receive healthcare through Medicare Advantage.”

During the 2022 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, Medicare beneficiaries can change their coverage for the coming year, including the opportunity to enroll in a $0 monthly premium plan from Essence Healthcare.

“At Essence, our focus is to provide more benefits, more flexibility, more doctor choice for the beneficiaries in the St. Louis area,” said Suzanne Grossman, VP of Marketing of Essence. “Having the full SSM health system in our network allows us to provide more to the seniors in our community.”


Essence Healthcare provides over 65,000 people with Medicare comprehensive and affordable health insurance that focuses on wellness, care coordination and personal service. Essence’s Medicare Advantage plans offer complete hospital, medical and prescription drug coverage and include additional benefits not covered under the Original Medicare program. Powered  by the nation’s leading population health services and technology of Lumeris, Essence is earning national recognition for its commitment to service and quality, including being awarded Medicare’s highest overall plan rating of 5 out of 5 Stars for 2022 for its Missouri and Missouri-Illinois plans and was recently named “Best Medicare Advantage Plan Companies” for Missouri and Illinois for 2022 by U.S. News and World Report. In 2023, Essence’s Medicare Advantage plans will be available in markets in California, Illinois, Missouri, Georgia, Arkansas, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.


SSM Health is a Catholic, not-for-profit health system serving the comprehensive health needs of communities across the Midwest through a robust and fully integrated health care delivery system. The organization’s 40,000 team members and more than 11,000 providers are committed to providing exceptional health care services and revealing God’s healing presence to everyone they serve.

With care delivery sites in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, SSM Health includes 23 hospitals, more than 290 physician offices and other outpatient and virtual care services, 12 post-acute facilities, comprehensive home care and hospice services, a pharmacy benefit company, a health insurance company and an accountable care organization. It is one of the largest employers in every community it serves. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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