Wellmark, Inc. doing business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced it will migrate the self-funded groups supported by its subsidiary, First Administrators, Inc. (FAI), to the Wellmark platform by December 31, 2013. The decision was driven by the ever-increasing number and complexity of federal regulations, mandates and the rising costs associated with these changes. After a thorough review, it has been determined it is simply not cost effective to modify the current FAI information technology system to meet these regulatory requirements.
The workforce in Des Moines, Sioux City and Rapid City, SD, are impacted by this business decision. The Sioux City office will close following the full transition of the FAI business. At that time, the work will reside at Wellmark’s Des Moines office. FAI has operated as a stand-alone, third-party administrator serving self-funded customers in Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Minnesota. FAI employs 117 employees who provide sales, operations and customer service for approximately 100,000 health plan members.
“Wellmark has chosen to move all of our self-funded business to a single technology platform,” said FAI President and CEO Phil Davis. “By leveraging one platform, First Administrators clients will have the opportunity to benefit from the value and access of the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield provider network combined with the exceptional service Wellmark members consistently receive,” Davis added. Employees will remain at each location until early 2014 in order to help transition the business and provide continued service for its customers. Employees will also have the option to fill open positions at other Wellmark locations and are eligible for assistance in relocating if necessary.
Wellmark will collaborate with both the Iowa Workforce Development and South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation, as well as utilize its own internal and external professional resources to provide career counseling and job placement workshops to help employees choose the option that will work best for themselves and their families.
“We did not make this decision lightly,” said Davis. “Although our business strategy led us to this decision, we are fully committed to the employees at each of these locations and intend to provide them with as much support, information and assistance as possible.”
About First Administrators Inc.
FAI operates as a third-party administrator specializing in customized self-funded employee health benefit plans in Iowa and South Dakota. More than 115 FAI employees provide sales, operations and customer service for more than 100,000 health plan members. For more information about FAI, visit www.firstadministrators.com.
Wellmark, Inc. (www.Wellmark.com) does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.