Health Care Service Corp. will buy Trustmark health benefits, adding to the five-state Blue Cross portfolio

Health Care Service Corporation, the parent company of Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans in five states, is buying Trustmark Health Benefits, an administrator and designer of employer health benefits, for an undisclosed amount.

The agreement between Health Care Service and Trustco Holdings to buy its wholly-owned subsidiary, Trustmark Health Benefits, comes amid a period of renewed merger and acquisition among health insurers to grow their businesses. In particular, Trustmark Health Benefits, is a “third-party administrator” that will add to “health care service capabilities to serve self-funded employers,” the companies said Thursday in an announcement of the deal.

“The acquisition will provide HCSC with additional capabilities to serve a broader set of customers seeking customizable and flexible healthcare delivery solutions,” Health Care Service and Trustmark said. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Already, Health Care Service Corp, a policyholder-owned health insurance mutual, is one of the nation’s largest health insurers and has Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans in five states: Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Montana. Combined, the health plans have 17 million subscribers across the United States

“We are proud to add this asset to our portfolio to continue to meet the diverse and evolving needs of our self-funded customers,” said Dr. Opella Ernest, Executive Vice President of Commercial Markets for HCSC. “This arrangement reflects HCSC’s ongoing commitment to expanding access to affordable, quality healthcare.

During a time of full employment when Americans have the ability to change jobs and seek unprecedented opportunities, employers must be competitive in the health benefits they offer.

“Employers today face increasing pressures and challenges,” said Kevin Cassidy, president, National Accounts at Health Care Service. “With this acquisition, we are making it easier for employers of all sizes to access our extensive provider networks, data-driven insights, and coordinated quality and value-driven approach to care. This is not a one-size-fits-all world and we recognize that Health Benefits can help give more customers access to our service strengths.

Trustmark Health Benefits is one of Trustmark’s four business units. A Trustmark spokesperson said Trustmark Voluntary Benefits, HealthFitness and Trustmark Small Business Benefits will remain with Trustmark.

Trustmark President and CEO Kevin Slawin said the acquisition will help Trustmark compete in “the changing work environment”.

“Trustmark will focus on markets where we can grow in the future, deliver differentiated capabilities to our customers and members, and lead nationally,” Slawin said. “In a changing work environment, we will accelerate our efforts to become much more meaningful in the markets we serve by helping employers deliver benefits that create engaged and healthy teams.”

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