NU Online News Service, March 8, 2005, 1:40 p.m. EST

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Wellesley, Mass., plans to acquire Health Plans Inc., Westborough, Mass., a regional third-party administrator.[@@]

Health Plans provides administrative and other services to self-funded employers, employer associations, union-negotiated programs and other health and benefit plan sponsors.

Health Plans will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Harvard Pilgrim and will continue to operate as a separate entity. It covers about 81,000 members with health, dental and short-term disability benefits, mostly in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.

With the addition of Health Plans, Harvard Pilgrim says it will cover more than 900,000 members.