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CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield of Baltimore will acquire Medicaid plans in Maryland and Washington

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield said Friday it plans to acquire Medicaid plans in Maryland and Washington.

The state’s largest health insurer will acquire University of Maryland Health Partners in Baltimore, health insurance plans for Medicare and Medicaid members run by the University of Maryland Medical System. The nonprofit also will acquire Trusted Health Plan in Washington, a Medicaid managed-care organization in Washington.

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Health Partners serves 47,000 Medicaid enrollees in Baltimore and 20 counties in Maryland. Trusted Health has operated since 2013 and currently serves more than 34,000 enrollees in Washington. No immediate changes to coverage and services are expected.

“We want to help people meet health care needs at every stage and in every circumstance of life — and for many, Medicaid represents the most affordable coverage," said Brian D. Pieninck, CareFirst’s president and CEO, in an announcement.

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He said both acquisitions will allow CareFirst to expand its mission to serve Medicaid enrollees in most of Maryland.

Medicaid is the government-funded health insurance for low-income and disabled people. Medicare is for older Americans.

Terms of the separate deals, which have been approved by the boards of CareFirst, UMMS and Trusted Health, were not disclosed. The deals require regulatory approvals from the state and from officials in Washington.

“The University of Maryland Medical System and CareFirst have always been strong allies and the acquisition of Health Partners further solidifies that alignment,” Mohan Suntha, UMMS president and CEO, said in Friday’s announcement.

It will ensure that UMMS Medicaid enrollees have uninterrupted access to health coverage through a Maryland-based, not-for-profit health plan, Suntha said.

The Health Partners transaction does not include the University of Maryland Health Advantage plan, through which 5,600 Maryland residents enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid are covered now.

CareFirst said it will create a plan to integrate both companies’ staffs and infrastructure with CareFirst operations over a multi-year transaction period.

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