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Banner Health, AZ Blues Partner in Medicare Health Plan

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, September 4, 2012

The joint venture capitalizes on the name recognition of Banner Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona in the state. The addition of the Medicare Advantage product positions the Blues plan to develop more lifetime members who maintain their healthcare coverage with the company.

Although Banner Health will maintain a governance position, the joint venture places much of the day-to-day operations of the health plan into the experienced hands of BCBSAZ to take advantage of quality improvement and care coordination programs already in place for Blues members. Banner Health's hospitals and physicians will provide the exclusive network for the BCBSAZ Advantage.

Plans to expand the market for BCBSAZ Advantage beyond Maricopa and Pinal counties are "undetermined," Chuck Lehn, vice president of managed care for Banner Health, tells HealthLeaders Media. "We would like to first focus on high quality service for our existing and new members."

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