UnityPoint Health announced today it has recruited a chief executive to lead Physicians Plus Insurance Corp., a Madison, Wis.-based health insurance company that it acquired earlier this year.  

Troy Caraway, who was named CEO of Physicians Plus following a nationwide search, will also oversee a new health insurance division for UnityPoint Health as its senior vice president. He begins his new duties on July 28.  

The West Des Moines-based health system said Caraway will "spearhead the resurgence" of Physicians Plus, a financially troubled for-profit health maintenance organization that UnityPoint acquired from Meriter Health Systems Inc. of Wisconsin.  

Physicians Plus insures approximately 65,000 members in south-central Wisconsin.

Meriter, which had owned Physicians Plus, became an affiliate of UnityPoint Health in January before transferring its ownership stake in Physicians Plus to UnityPoint Health. Physicians Plus has racked up multimillion-dollar losses over the past three years.

Caraway, who will be based at UnityPoint's Health's West Des Moines headquarters, most recently was a senior vice president with Optum, the technology and services division of UnitedHealth Group Inc.

"Troy will oversee the strategic development as well as support the operational leaders of our newly formed insurance division," Kevin Vermeer, executive vice president for UnityPoint Health, said in a release. "He also will partner with stakeholders to develop new insurance product offerings as well as expansion of our insurance business and the development and implementation of additional offerings and capabilities in the population (health) management space."

UnityPoint Health spokeswoman Laura Sinnard said no decisions have been made on whether Physicians Plus will offer health coverage in Iowa or other states beyond Wisconsin. 

The company's headquarters will remain in Madison, Sinnard said, but additional hiring is expected. "We continue to expand our capabilities in the population management space and we will be adding resources in both Des Moines and Madison to meet our needs," she said. 

Though historically a viable company, Physicians Plus' financial condition began to deteriorate in 2011 due to competitive market pressures, according to a December 2013 filing with the Wisconsin insurance commissioner. The insurer reported net losses of $30.3 million in 2012 and $10.5 million in 2011, and last year borrowed $24.65 million against its reserves.  

UnityPoint Health experienced weaker financial results in its most recent quarter, as the health system struggled with lower admissions and the integration of Physicians Plus that took UnityPoint into the insurance market, Modern Healthcare reported earlier this month.