To advance its mission to provide affordable access to health coverage, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) has reached separate definitive agreements to acquire Trusted Health Plan in Washington, D.C., and University of Maryland Health Partners in Baltimore. Trusted operates as a Medicaid managed care organization exclusively in Washington, and Health Partners currently serves Medicaid enrollees in 20 Maryland counties and Baltimore City.

 Health Partners is owned by the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) and the boards of directors of both CareFirst and UMMS have approved the acquisition. Similarly, the boards of CareFirst and Trusted have approved CareFirst’s acquisition of Trusted.

“Our unique not-for-profit mission calls on us to provide access to affordable health coverage and to support public and private initiatives that provide coverage for the individuals and families in the communities we serve,” said CareFirst President and CEO Brian Pieninck. “We want to help people meet health care needs at every stage and in every circumstance of life – and for many, Medicaid represents the most affordable coverage.”

Trusted began operations in 2013 and currently serves more than 34,000 enrollees in Washington, D.C. Coverage and services will not change as the acquisition undergoes regulatory review and approval.

 Health Partners currently serves 47,000 enrollees. There will be no immediate changes to the coverage and services of Health Partners enrollees. Not included in the transaction is the University of Maryland Health Advantage (UMHA) plan. UMMS will continue to own and operate the UMHA plan through which 5,600 Marylanders who are enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid are covered now, and will remain covered, after the approval of the Health Partners acquisition.

“We strongly believe we can do more to improve the health of the communities we serve. Working more closely with leading health providers such as UMMS opens a great opportunity to collaborate and achieve broader community impact moving forward,” Pieninck said. “And, as a community-focused health company, it’s important that whenever possible we strive to serve the entire region. By acquiring both Trusted and Health Partners, we will – in relatively short order – expand our mission and service commitment to Medicaid enrollees in the District and most of Maryland.

 After the transactions close, CareFirst plans to bring Trusted and Health Partners into its not-for-profit organizational structure to better align with its mission. CareFirst will develop a plan to integrate both companies’ staffs and infrastructure with CareFirst operations during a multi-year transition period.