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State Bits: Arizona, Kansas

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Arizona has selected 4 carriers to provide health benefits for 135,000 state employee health plan enrollees.

The providers include units of Aetna Inc., Hartford; CIGNA Corp., Philadelphia; and UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn.

AmeriBen, a unit of IEC Group Inc., Boise, Idaho, will provide a fourth option for Arizona employee plan participants. AmeriBen will work with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona, Phoenix, to run a preferred provider organization plan program.

The Arizona employee health plan generates about $750 million in premiums per year.

UnitedHealth has been handling the Arizona employee plan health benefits contract.

In other state benefits news, Kansas is using COBRAGuard Inc., Mission, Kan., to administer benefits continuation services.

Kansas employs 45,000 people, and, at any given point in time, it typically has about 300 to 500 COBRA continuants, according to COBRAGuard.