Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield Announces Name Change

New Name Reflects Long Standing Affiliation with Highmark Inc.

PARKERSBURG, W.Va., Jan. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield announced today that the company will change its name to Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia to reflect the almost 12-year affiliation the company has had with Pennsylvania-based Highmark Inc. (Highmark). The affiliation started in 1999 and became permanent in 2004 after receiving approval from the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner. The new name is the only change slated for the company; services, member benefits, programs, and other offerings will remain the same.

The new website will be https://www.highmarkbcbswv.com/ and will have details for members, providers, and customers.

"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. "Highmark already provides our employees, members and citizens of West Virginia, with expertise in technology, regulatory compliance, financial and investment services and human resources. As we continue with our preparations and planning for health care reform, we felt that it was time to rebrand. We want our customers to know that only our name is different, and nothing will change in regards to their benefits and services," continued Earley. "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."

"Through our decade-long relationship, Highmark has helped Mountain State remain competitive, become more cost effective through shared investment in systems and capabilities and maintain its strong local presence and focus on community support," said Dr. Kenneth Melani, president and CEO of Highmark. "Highmark is committed to providing the people of West Virginia with access to quality health care coverage. The name change that we announced today is the next important step in our successful business partnership, and underscores how important this region is to our company."

About Highmark Inc.

As one of the leading health insurers in Pennsylvania, Highmark Inc.'s mission is to be the leading health and wellness company in the communities we serve. Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark serves 4.7 million people through the company's health care benefits business. Highmark contributes millions of dollars to help keep quality health care programs affordable and to support community-based programs that work to improve people's health. Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit highmark.com.

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Highmark West Virginia provides or administers coverage to more than 500,000 members and has over 869 employees at offices in Parkersburg, Charleston, Wheeling and Weirton. To learn more about Highmark West Virginia, please visit https://www.highmarkbcbswv.com/.

SOURCE Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia

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