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Sacramento-based HMO Western Health Advantage has filed for an expansion into Marin and Sonoma counties, where it hopes to partner with the Marin-Sonoma IPA and much of the region's hospitals in offering a new health plan for employers and individuals.

If approved, Western Health Advantage could represent the most significant commercial health plan to enter the region since the bankruptcy of Health Plan of the Redwoods in 2002, which created a void that was filled quickly by Kaiser Permanente.

The plan calls for having 93 primary care physicians across Marin and Sonoma counties, and the nearly 600-member Marin-Sonoma IPA would be the sole provider of both primary care and specialty physicians. [read more]