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Highmark Medicare Services Awarded New Contract from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Saturday, January 10, 2009 General News J E 4
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CAMP HILL, Pa., Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark Medicare Services has been selected by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to process Medicare fee-for-service claims from hospitals and other institutional providers, physicians and health care practitioners in Ohio and Kentucky.



This contract also includes the processing of Home Health and Hospice (HH&H) Medicare fee-for-service claims for the states of Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. This contract is part of Medicare contracting reform initiatives passed by Congress in 2003 which established new Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC) for handling both Medicare Part A and Part B fee-for-service claims and other administrative activities. This new contract will add approximately 480 positions to Highmark Medicare Services' current staff.



As the MAC for Jurisdiction 15, Highmark Medicare Services is expected to process approximately 78 million claims annually.



"This is an important milestone for our Highmark Medicare Services organization," said Kenneth R. Melani, president and chief executive officer of Highmark, the parent company of Highmark Medicare Services. "Since changes were announced in the Medicare program several years ago, we have focused on positioning the company for MAC contracts. This contract demonstrates CMS' recognition of our past performance as well as our ongoing operational excellence and customer service. We continue to explore ways to strengthen our contribution to the Pennsylvania economy and our communities by reinforcing our partnership with the federal government and the Medicare program, and through our proposed consolidation with Independence Blue Cross."



This is the second major contract for Highmark Medicare Services. In October 2007, CMS awarded the company the MAC Jurisdiction 12 (J12) contract to handle claims for both Medicare Part A and Part B fee-for-service claims in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, and the northern Virginia counties of Arlington, Fairfax and Alexandria, Va.



Under the MAC J12 contract, Highmark Medicare Services is processing more than 131 million Medicare fee-for-service claims annually from hospitals, institutional providers, physicians and other health care practitioners for this area, which includes more than 4.2 million Medicare beneficiaries. The MAC J12 transition from previous contractors to Highmark Medicare Services was completed last month.



"We have been a partner with the government since the Medicare program began and this is just the latest step in enhancing our relationship with CMS," said Patrick Kiley, president, Highmark Medicare Services. "The government's involvement in health care in the future will continue to grow, and we believe our relationship with CMS positions us well to continue in this important partnership."



The transition for J15 begins in January 2009. Highmark Medicare Services currently has 950 employees. Highmark Medicare Services maintains offices in Camp Hill, Pittsburgh, Williamsport, Fort Washington, Pa. and Hunt Valley, Md.



Highmark Inc.



Highmark Medicare Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of Highmark Inc.



Highmark Inc. is a major force for Pennsylvania's economy. According to a Tripp Umbach study, Highmark has a $2.5 billion impact on the economy and that includes about 11,000 employees of Highmark in Pennsylvania. Overall, Highmark and its subsidiaries have 19,000 employees.



As one of the leading health insurers in Pennsylvania, Highmark Inc.'s mission is to provide access to affordable, quality health care enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark serves 4.6 million people through the company's health care benefits business. Highmark contributes millions of dollars to help keep quality health care programs affordable and to support community-based programs that work to improve people's health. Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark's positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. The company provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health.



Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.



SOURCE Highmark Medicare Services
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