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WellPoint Asks To Shift Virginia Operations

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A large managed care company says it needs more freedom to streamline its business.

Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, a unit of WellPoint Inc., Indianapolis, is asking the Virginia State Corporation Commission for permission to move some claims processing, customer service, sales and provider services operations from offices in Virginia to offices in other states, according to SCC officials.

WellPoint said it would leave the operations in Virginia in 2002, when it applied successfully for SCC permission to acquire Trigon Healthcare Inc., Richmond, Va., officials say.

The SCC required WellPoint, which was known as Anthem back in 2002, to seek written approval from the SCC Bureau of Insurance before moving the operations out of Virginia, officials say.

Earlier this month, Anthem Health Plans of Virginia “filed a petition in which it stated that the health care industry has changed dramatically,” SCC officials say. “The company, which operates in numerous states, argues that ‘maintaining duplication simply to satisfy the desire for local function is a cost the health care system cannot afford.’”

Members of the public can file comments on the proposed shift of operations up until June 8, officials say.