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Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia supports Gov. Tomblin's decision to expand Medicaid within West Virginia

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Parkersburg, W.Va. (May 9, 2013) — Executives of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia (Highmark West Virginia) today announced that the company supports Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's recent decision to expand the state's Medicaid program to cover thousands of uninsured West Virginians.

According to a press release distributed May 2nd by the governor's office, expansion of the state's Medicaid program will provide health insurance coverage to approximately 91,500 uninsured working West Virginians. Currently, a quarter of West Virginians count on Medicaid for their insurance coverage. By offering Medicaid coverage to this additional population, the state may be able to significantly reduce the overall health care costs offered to its citizens.

This is not the first time that Gov. Tomblin has shown support for reorganization and expansion of the state's Medicaid program. During the 2012 legislative session, he signed into law HB 4438, which allowed for the development of Provider Sponsored Networks (PSN) within the state. As a result, Highmark West Virginia has been successful in collaborating with the West Virginia Family Health Plan (WVFHP) to develop a PSN that will provide managed care services to West Virginia and its Medicaid population. The PSN operated by WVFHP is owned and governed by Highmark West Virginia and 25 provider shareholders, including 22 Federally Qualified Health Centers and the West Virginia Primary Care Association.

The purpose of this collaboration, which was first announced in March 2013, was for Highmark West Virginia and WVFHP to create a new care delivery model that would bring a more cost-effective approach to Medicaid managed care while also enhancing quality and health outcomes for the state's citizens. As a result, WVFHP is currently in the process of seeking approval from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau of Medical Services to operate as a Medicaid Managed Care Organization (MCO) for West Virginia.

"As a company, our vision is to ensure that all members of the communities we serve have access to affordable, quality health care," said Fred Earley, president of Highmark West Virginia. "Through the pursuit of this endeavor, we, along with WVFHP, are fulfilling this vision and are looking forward to working with state officials to serve the new and existing Medicaid population starting this fall."

Highmark West Virginia is responsible for managing the overall operations and administration of WVFHP, and, in an effort to continue through the development phases of its operation, the company is pleased to announce that Keith Peifer has accepted the position of president of the West Virginia Family Health Plan. He currently serves as vice president of sales and client management for small group and individual markets for Highmark in Pennsylvania. He will begin his new position in Parkersburg, W.Va., on May 28th, with plans to begin full operation of WVFHP in October of this year.

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia serves approximately 300,000 customers through the company's health care benefits business and also serves tens of thousands of additional members through the Blue Card program. Highmark West Virginia employs approximately 800 people in Parkersburg, Charleston and Wheeling. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. To learn more about Highmark West Virginia, visit www.highmarkbcbswv.com.

For more information, contact:
Cathy McAlister
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia
304-347-7754
cathy.mcalister@highmark.com