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BLUE CROSS & BLUE SHIELD OF OHIO SIGNS LETTER OF INTENT WITH UNIVERSITY HEALTH PLAN IN CINCINNATI

 CINCINNATI, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Officials of University Health Plan (UHP) and University Health Maintenance Organization (UHMO) have reached an agreement in principle with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio (BCBSO) that will make the Cincinnati-based health maintenance organization part of BCBSO's statewide HMO Health Ohio network.
 Under a letter of intent announced today, Blue Cross would acquire assets of UHP and UHMO, including contracts with 32,000 enrollees in the health maintenance plan, and would continue providing coverage, but under the Blue Cross HMO Health Ohio name. Blue Cross would also acquire Health First, the preferred provider organization which is part of UHP.
 Under the letter of intent, all parties anticipate concluding a final agreement within the next 60 days or so. During that time, all existing UHP and UHMO contracts with hospital and physician providers will remain unchanged, and there will be no changes in coverage or procedures for subscribers.
 UHP and UHMO are affiliated with the University of Cincinnati Hospital and the University of Cincinnati Medical Associates. Under the agreement, all University of Cincinnati Medical Associates physicians on staff or with privileges at the hospital would become members of the HMO Health Ohio panel.
 Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio, headquartered in Cleveland, is the state's oldest and largest health insurer, with 1991 revenues of more than $1.4 billion and current reserves in excess of $205 million. It provides coverage to more than 1.5 million Ohioans, and its combined HMO and Super Blue preferred provider networks comprise one of the largest alternative delivery systems in the state, with more than 300,000 members.
 "We are extremely pleased with this agreement in principle and very enthusiastic about working with University Hospital and its medical staff, as well as other medical providers in the area, to provide managed care services to the Greater Cincinnati community," commented Kent W. Clapp, president and chief operating officer of BCBSO.
 Clapp pointed out that his company has been active in the Cincinnati market for several years, but did not launch a health maintenance organization there "because we wanted to be very deliberate and very thoughtful about selecting the right mix of providers to effectively and efficiently meet the needs of the community."
 "UHP is a large, well-run, and highly-respected organization," said Clapp, "and this agreement in principle is a very positive move because it will enable us to serve our existing customers better, offer new services to new customers, and become associated with one of the outstanding medical institutions in Ohio."
 Clapp also noted that BCBSO was recently awarded a multi-year contract by the State of Ohio to provide managed care services to state employees in other parts of the state where HMO Health Ohio is available. Almost 6,000 state employees who work or reside in the Greater Cincinnati region are currently enrolled in other health plans. "It's a tremendous opportunity for growth," Clapp said.
 Commenting on behalf of UHP, Hirsh J. Cohen, president, said, "This is an extremely important agreement in principle because it underscores the commitment of our organization to provide the very best in high- quality, cost-efficient healthcare services to this community.
 "This is a natural evolution in the growth and development of our organization, and it will enhance our ability to meet our mission of providing the best service at the most reasonable cost to the largest number of people," said Cohen.
 He added, "With the resources and experience of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio, we will be able to offer Cincinnati-based companies and the general public the benefits of a very competitive statewide health maintenance organization that is committed and equipped to meet their needs through a network of high-quality medical providers."
 Clapp said Blue Cross, UHP and UHMO representatives would be working together very closely over the next few months to ensure an orderly transition for companies and individual subscribers.
 "Because of our experience and capabilities in the area of health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organizations, we will be able to demonstrate to current and prospective customers the substantial advantages that we can offer them," said Clapp. "Plus, we have the added advantage of working with a very respected organization that has done an outstanding job of building a solid base of service to the community."
 Financial details relating to the proposed transaction were not disclosed.
 -0- 1/6/93
 /CONTACT: Andrew M. Juniewicz of William Silverman and Company, 216-696-7750, for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio/


CO: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio ST: Ohio IN: INS SU:

BM -- CL004 -- 2108 01/06/93 10:03 EST
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Date:Jan 6, 1993
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