CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The Bureau of TennCare today awarded managed care organization (MCO) contracts for its East and West Tennessee Regions to Volunteer State Health Plan, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

The contracts to manage and deliver integrated physical and behavioral health services to nearly 373,000 TennCare enrollees go into effect on Nov. 1, 2008, for enrollees in West Tennessee and Jan. 1, 2009, for those living in East Tennessee. Both contracts will be administered on a full financial risk basis.

“VSHP is honored to have been selected to continue serving the health care coverage needs of our fellow Tennesseans,” said Steve Coulter, president of the government business unit for BlueCross. “For the past 14 years we have partnered with the State to help extend affordable and quality health care coverage to Tennessee’s most vulnerable citizens. We are proud to have again been chosen to bring the best value possible to the TennCare program and those who rely on it.”

According to VSHP President and CEO Sonya Nelson, VSHP approached the bid process with several key goals: help the Bureau of TennCare solve problems, improve health outcomes for members and increase customer satisfaction—all while reducing costs.

“We feel that our price and service were major factors that gave VSHP the advantage in this highly competitive bid process. From our new integrated care model and pay-for-performance incentives, to use of the State’s electronic medical record and partnering with ValueOptions as our new behavioral health partner, VSHP showed it was able to provide value to the program and deliver on our mission of building a healthier Tennessee.”

In addition to its East and West Region contracts with the Bureau of TennCare, VSHP will continue to administer coverage for nearly 70,000 lives in TennCareSelect, which addresses the needs of children in the custody of the Department of Children’s Services or those covered by Supplemental Security Insurance.

About Volunteer State Health Plan (VSHP)

Volunteer State Health Plan is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Founded in 1993, the Chattanooga-based company focuses on managing care and providing quality health care products, services, and information for government programs. VSHP currently serves more than 300,000 members.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.