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Virginia Rules On WellPoint Operation Shift Request

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The Virginia State Corporation Commission has agreed to let Anthem Health Plans of Virginia move some business operations out of Virginia.

Anthem, part of WellPoint Inc., Indianapolis, must keep claims processing, quality management, medical management, customer service, provider services and network development operations in Virginia, Virginia SCC officials say.

But WellPoint can move Anthem’s Virginia actuarial, underwriting, marketing, sales, distribution management, and community relations operations out of Virginia, officials say.

The SCC says it does not believe WellPoint could maintain the current quality of Anthem services, such as claim processing, if those operations moved out of state.

If conditions change, WellPoint can apply for permission to move more Anthem operations out of Virginia in the future, officials say.

WellPoint acquired Trigon Healthcare Inc., Richmond, Va., the Virginia Blue Cross and Blue Shield carrier, in 2002, and folded those operations into Anthem Health Plans of Virginia.

Before approving the Trigon deal, the SCC put restrictions on WellPoint’s ability to move Anthem operations out of state.

Earlier this year, WellPoint asked the SCC to relax the 2002 restrictions on Anthem.

Now, “we’re evaluating our options,” Anthem spokesman Jim Kappel says.

Anthem is pleased with the increased flexibility that Virginia regulators gave the company, and it appreciates the opportunity to seek review of future plans for improving business processes, Kappel says.