Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield announced Tuesday that it has changed its name to Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia to reflect its 12-year affiliation with Pennsylvania-based Highmark Inc.
The affiliation started in 1999 and became permanent in 2004. The new name is the only change planned for the company, and services, member benefits, programs, and other offerings will remain the same. The new website will be highmarkbcbswv.com , the Parkersburg, WV-based company announced.
"After a partnership spanning more than a decade, we have decided that our name should reflect Highmark's commitment to West Virginia," said Fred Earley, president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia.
Earley said Highmark already provides support for technology, regulatory compliance, financial and investment services and human resources. "As we continue with our preparations and planning for healthcare reform, we felt that it was time to rebrand," he said. "We want our customers to know that only our name is different, and nothing will change in regards to their benefits and services. This change has always been a part of the affiliation plan, and everyone involved felt the timing was right to make the announcement as the New Year begins. "
Kenneth Melani, MD, president/CEO of Pittsburgh-based Highmark, called the name change "the next important step in our successful business partnership, and underscores how important this region is to our company."
Highmark covers 4.7 million people, and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia provides or administers coverage to more than 500,000 people.