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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Truist moving healthcare contract to CVS/Aetna

Truist Financial plans to move its third-party administration health care contract to CVS Health’s Aetna unit in 2024, ending a lengthy relationship between predecessor BB&T and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

The change “will provide a more streamlined and unified healthcare experience for our teammates and their families,” Charlotte-based Truist said in a response to questions. “We’re committed to providing a best-in-class total rewards and benefits program, and we regularly assess ways to modernize and enhance offerings for our teammates.”

Durham-based Blue Cross said it was “grateful to have served Truist and remains focused on providing excellent service throughout the contract period. As two North Carolina-based companies serving our state, we look forward to opportunities to work together in the future.”

The move follows a similar switch earlier this year by the State Health Plan of North Carolina from Blue Cross to Aetna. That change is slated to take effect in 2025. In February, Blue Cross challenged the state plan’s decision in Durham County Superior Court and the state Office of Administrative Hearings. The matter is pending.

The Truist plan covers an estimated 90,000 employees, dependents and retirees. The state plan, which involves more than 740,000 employees and retirees, has been overseen by Blue Cross for more than 40 years.

The contract loss is a blow to Blue Cross, which has long dominated the N.C. health insurance market with about 4.2 million members. Blue Cross held cash and investments topping $4.5 billion, according to its 2021 financial statement. The company had net income of $36 million in fiscal 2022.

State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who chairs the State Health Plan, has criticized Blue Cross’ handling of the transition as third-party administrator. “They are going to sue us until they’re blue,” he said on Aug. 1 during his monthly press conference. “They want to create as much chaos as they possibly can to make sure that this rollout is not successful.”

Because it is a private-sector company, details on Truist’s decision aren’t as transparent as the State Health Plan move. Public documents have shown the bids by Aetna, Blue Cross and United Healthcare were close in the range of $17.5 billion for five years of administrative costs. It’s one of the largest contracts in state government.

Aetna was selected because it earned a higher score for services provided, state officials said. The publicly traded Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based company owns the CVS drug store chain and is much larger than the not-for-profit Blue Cross, with revenue of $322 billion in 2022.

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at dmildenberg@businessnc.com.

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