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• Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSMI; Lansing, MI) announced a new statewide program that will begin July 1 and help more than 180,000 Medicare-eligible individuals mostly seniors citizens save up to 25% on prescription drugs. The program covers members enrolled in BCBSMI’s individually billed Medicare supplemental (Medigap) coverage. The Michigan attorney general’s office, the Michigan Insurance Bureau, and the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging joined in announcing the program. Called Affinity Rx, the new program will help seniors in traditional Medicare who are also enrolled in individually billed Blues Medicare supplemental coverage to purchase prescription drugs at a savings at nearly all Michigan pharmacies. The Affinity Rx cost savings average 13%, but can be as high as 25%, depending on the drug purchased.
• Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield’s (Pittsburgh) new plan, Community Blue, is becoming more and more popular with cost-conscious employers who are searching for affordable healthcare coverage. The plan has become so popular, the company said, that its coverage will be offered to employers in Mercer County in July. The plan is now available to employers in nine counties in Pennsylvania. In addition, another Allegheny County hospital, Mercy Providence, will be joining the Community Blue network in July. Since the plan became available in July 1998, its enrollment has grown to more than 29,000. Highmark says Community Blue, on average, costs about 10% less than BCBS’s other plans
• SunStar Healthcare (Heathrow, FL) recorded 1Q99 ended March 31 revenues of $23.9 million, compared to revenues in 1Q98 of $1.6 million. The company saw a net loss in 1Q99 of $653,586, 24 cents per share, compared to a 1Q98 net loss of $1.1 million, 46 cents per share. The loss in 1Q99 is in line with the company’s expectations and is consistent with the estimates made by the company regarding the development and operation of the company’s line of HMO business.
• First American Group of Companies (FAGOC; Richton Park, IL) has entered into an agreement to acquire Community Health Choice of Illinois (Chicago), an HMO serving primarily the Medicaid population. The company said the acquisition is subject to regulatory approval. FACOG President Daniel Splain said the acquisition, when completed, will have no effect on Community Health’s members or providers. FAGOC is the holding company for a number of managed care related ventures, including American Health Care Providers in Illinois.