The Washington State Health Care Authority has awarded a health coverage contract to Regence BlueShield.

The WSHCA has picked Regence, Seattle, to administer the coverage offered by the Uniform Medical Plan, a self-insured preferred provider plan that serves Washington State public employees and those employees’ families.

The plan has about 180,000 participants.

Regence is set to take over medical benefits administration Jan. 1, 2011.