Health Care Services Corp. To Buy Trustmark Health Benefits, Adding To Five-State Blue Cross Portfolio

Health Care Service Corporation, the parent 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 during a period of renewed merger and acquisition activity among health insurers to expand their businesses. In particular, Trustmark Health Benefits, is a “third-party administrator” that will add to Health Care Service’s “capabilities to serve self-funded employers,” the companies said Thursday in announcing the deal.

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

Already, Health Care Service Corp, a mutual health insurance company owned by policyholders, is one of the nation’s largest health insurers and owns 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 US

“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 continuous commitment to expand access to affordable, quality health care.”

During a period of full employment with Americans having the ability to change jobs and look for unprecedented opportunities, employers have to be competitive in the health benefits they offer.

“Today’s employers are facing increasing pressures and challenges,” said Kevin Cassidy, president, national accounts at Health Care Service. “With this acquisition, we’re making it easier for employers of all sizes to have access to our expansive provider networks, our data-driven insights and coordinated approach to care that focuses on quality and value. This isn’t 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 spokesman said Trustmark Voluntary Benefits, HealthFitness, and Trustmark Small Business Benefits will remain with Trustmark.

Trustmark President and chief executive officer Kevin Slawin said the acquisition will help Trustmark compete in the “evolving work environment.”

“Trustmark will focus on markets where we can grow in the future, deliver differentiated capabilities for our clients and members and lead at a national level,” Slawin said. “In an evolving work environment, we will accelerate our efforts to become vastly more consequential in the markets we serve by helping employers offer benefits that build engaged, healthy teams.”