WPS opens additional office in southern Illinois

WPS opens additional office in southern Illinois

September 19, 2018

MADISON, Wis.—WPS Health Solutions announces the opening of an office in West Frankfort, Illinois, to supplement the company’s Marion office, about 15 miles from West Frankfort.

Recent WPS News


Warren Litza saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

Warren Litza saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

09/16/2018

Green Bay, Wis.—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Warren Litza and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Vikings game for Operation Fan Mail.
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Switzer family saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

Switzer family saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

09/09/2018

Green Bay, Wis.—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Jolene and Terry Switzer and their family during Sunday’s Packers-Bears game for Operation Fan Mail.
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Frank Gumina named Chief Legal Officer at WPS

Frank Gumina named Chief Legal Officer at WPS

09/06/2018

Madison, Wis.—Frank Gumina is the new Chief Legal Officer at WPS Health Solutions. He succeeds Dan Schwandt, who was named Chief of Staff while continuing his role as Chief Governance Officer.
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Hunter and Mastronardi join WPS Board of Directors

Hunter and Mastronardi join WPS Board of Directors

08/23/2018

Madison, Wis.—Christine Hunter, M.D., and Nick Mastronardi, Ph.D., have been elected to the Board of Directors for Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation.
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Austen Jahnke saluted Thursday for Operation Fan Mail

Veterans group saluted Thursday for Operation Fan Mail

08/16/2018

GREEN BAY, Wis.—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to 22 military veterans involved in the WPS Veterans Enhancement Team during Thursday’s Packers-Steelers game for Operation Fan Mail.
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Austen Jahnke saluted Thursday for Operation Fan Mail

Austen Jahnke saluted Thursday for Operation Fan Mail

08/09/2018

GREEN BAY, Wis.—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Specialist Austen Jahnke and his family during Thursday’s Packers-Titans game for Operation Fan Mail.
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Greater Insurance Service and EPIC Specialty Benefits partner on food drive for Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin

Greater Insurance Service and EPIC Specialty Benefits partner on food drive for Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin8

08/07/2018

MADISON, Wis.—EPIC Specialty Benefits is partnering with local insurance agencies around Wisconsin this summer to help Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin.
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Packers, WPS Health Solutions present ‘Operation Fan Mail’ for 2018

Packers, WPS Health Solutions present ‘Operation Fan Mail’ for 2018

07/19/2018

MADISON, Wis.—Operation Fan Mail, the program that recognizes military families and veterans at each Packers home game, will mark its 12th season in 2018, and the 10th year it has been presented by WPS Health Solutions or its affiliates.
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Utility showcases WPS for energy-saving efforts

Utility showcases WPS for energy-saving efforts

06/20/2018

MADISON, Wis.—WPS Health Solutions is featured in a Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) business newsletter for its participation in the On Demand Savings (ODS) and Strategic Energy Management (SEM) programs on the Madison campus.
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WPS wins four Telly Awards for video

WPS wins four Telly Awards for video

06/06/2018

MADISON, Wis.—The 39th Annual Telly Award Winners have been announced, and the WPS Marketing Department has been honored with four bronze awards for production of three promotional videos!
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WPS, EPIC win advertising awards!

WPS, EPIC win advertising awards!

02/26/2018

MADISON, Wis.—WPS Health Solutions won eight ADDY Awards, including one gold, Saturday night at the American Advertising Federation's annual awards gala for the Madison chapter.
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WPS-sponsored Teddy Bear Toss at Gamblers game collects more than 7,600 stuffed animals

WPS-sponsored Teddy Bear Toss at Gamblers game collects more than 7,600 stuffed animals

02/26/2018

GREEN BAY, Wis.—Volunteers collected thousands of stuffed toys during the Green Bay Gamblers game against the Madison Capitols at the 19th Annual Teddy Bear Toss, sponsored by WPS Health Insurance, on Saturday, Feb. 24.
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WPS Executive Scott Kowalski participates in health care roundtable discussion

WPS Executive Scott Kowalski participates in health care roundtable discussion

02/16/2018

MILWAUKEE, Wis.—A WPS executive recently participated in the Milwaukee Business Journal's Health Care CEO Roundtable.
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WPS named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for ninth consecutive year

WPS named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® for ninth consecutive year

02/12/2018

MADISON, Wis.—WPS Health Solutions is being recognized by the Ethisphere® Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, as one of the 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies.
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WPS executive joins American Heart Association in asking Legislature to pass CPR bill

WPS executive joins American Heart Association in asking Legislature to pass CPR bill

02/09/2018

MADISON, Wis.—Scott Kowalski, Executive Vice President of Health Insurance, was among American Heart Association supporters who met with Wisconsin lawmakers on Jan. 30 to endorse a bill aimed at saving lives.
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Mike Hamerlik offers his vision for fixing the cost of health care

Mike Hamerlik offers his vision for fixing the cost of health care

01/17/2018

DE PERE, Wis.—Imagine a time in the United States when everyone would have to carry health insurance and they’d choose their own plan.
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Scott Kowalski offers insights on future of health insurance

Scott Kowalski offers insights on future of health insurance

01/17/2018

WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis.—Scott Kowalski, Executive Vice President of Health Insurance, presented at the 2018 Mega Conference in Wisconsin Dells.
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WPS News Archive


2017

WPS Charitable Foundation awards scholarships for 2017

Jeff Brickson saluted for Operation Fan Mail

12/23/2017

GREEN BAY, Wis.—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Brickson and his family during the Dec. 23 Packers-Vikings game for Operation Fan Mail.
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WPS Charitable Foundation awards scholarships for 2017

WPS Charitable Foundation awards scholarships for 2017

12/15/2017

MADISON, Wis.—The WPS Charitable Foundation announces the 2017 recipients of the Ray Koenig Memorial Scholarship, benefiting children of employees of WPS Health Solutions or one of its wholly owned subsidiaries.
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Withers family saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

Withers family saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

12/03/2017

GREEN BAY, Wis.—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Josh and Alicia Withers and their family during Sunday’s Packers-Buccaneers game for Operation Fan Mail.
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Taylor Manz saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

Taylor Manz saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

11/19/2017

GREEN BAY, Wis.—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Senior Airman Taylor Manz and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Ravens game for Operation Fan Mail.
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Purple Heart recipients saluted Monday for Operation Fan Mail

Purple Heart recipients saluted Monday for Operation Fan Mail

11/06/2017

GREEN BAY, Wis.—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to seven combat-disabled and wounded veterans and Purple Heart recipients during Monday’s Packers-Lions game for Operation Fan Mail.
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Wenzel family saluted for Operation Fan Mail

Wenzel family saluted for Operation Fan Mail

10/22/2017

GREEN BAY, Wis.—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Dustin and Natalie Wenzel and their family during Sunday’s Packers-Saints game for Operation Fan Mail.
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WPS employees recycle bicycles for DreamBikes

WPS employees recycle bicycles for DreamBikes

10/06/2017

MADISON, Wis.—WPS employees recently donated 45 used bicycles and tricycles to DreamBikes, a Madison nonprofit organization.
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WPS helps homeless veterans with donations to Stand Down

WPS helps homeless veterans with donations to Stand Down

10/03/2017

MADISON, Wis.—WPS employees and the WPS Charitable Foundation donated $6,400 and a dozen boxes of supplies to the Wayne D. Horner Memorial Stand Down organization, which benefits veterans who are experiencing homelessness.
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Commander Mark Graboski saluted for Operation Fan Mail

Commander Mark Graboski saluted for Operation Fan Mail

09/28/2017

GREEN BAY, Wis.—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Commander Mark Graboski and his family during Thursday’s Packers-Bears game for Operation Fan Mail.
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WPS MVH employees sponsor dog for K9s for Warriors

WPS MVH employees sponsor dog for K9s for Warriors

09/27/2017

MADISON, Wis.—WPS Military and Veterans Health employees raised funds to sponsor a service dog for an injured military veteran through the K9s for Warriors program.
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Purple Heart recipient Joshua Krueger saluted for Operation Fan Mail

Purple Heart recipient Joshua Krueger saluted for Operation Fan Mail

09/24/2017

GREEN BAY, Wis.—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Purple Heart recipient Joshua Krueger and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Bengals game for Operation Fan Mail.
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Senior Airman Zach Harrison saluted for Operation Fan Mail

Senior Airman Zach Harrison saluted for Operation Fan Mail

09/20/2017

GREEN BAY, Wis.—The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Air Force Senior Airman Zach Harrison and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Seahawks game for Operation Fan Mail.
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WPS Health Solutions wins BBB International Torch Award for Ethics

WPS Health Solutions wins BBB International Torch Award for Ethics

08/21/2017

MADISON, Wis.—WPS Health Solutions is one of the winners of the 2017 BBB International Torch Award for Ethics from the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust.
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WPS raises money for veterans group Heat for Heroes

WPS raises money for veterans group Heat for Heroes

07/17/2017

MADISON, Wis.—Employees of WPS Health Solutions held a special fundraiser for Heat for Heroes, an organization dedicated to helping struggling veterans keep their heat and power on.
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Packers and WPS Health Solutions present ‘Operation Fan Mail’ for 2017

Packers and WPS Health Solutions present ‘Operation Fan Mail’ for 2017

07/07/2017

GREEN BAY, Wis.—Operation Fan Mail, the program that recognizes military families at each Packers home game, will mark its 11th season in 2017, and the ninth year it has been presented by WPS Health Solutions or its affiliates.
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WPS execs talk to In Business magazine about future of health coverage

WPS execs talk to In Business magazine about future of health coverage

06/29/2017

MADISON, Wis.—A pair of WPS Health Solutions executives talked to In Business: Greater Madison magazine for its special health care section.
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WPS WFO group wins award for employee engagement

WPS WFO group wins award for employee engagement

06/02/2017

WPS Health Solutions was honored for Employee Engagement Excellence as part of the 2017 NICE Customer Excellence Awards, which recognize companies dedicated to innovation, leadership, and driving business impact.
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WPS Part D achieves best audit score from CMS

WPS Part D achieves best audit score from CMS

05/25/2017

The Medicare Part D prescription drug plan at WPS Health Insurance received the best audit score in the nation for 2016, according to a new report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
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Vicki Bernards

Vicki Bernards has been selected as the next Chief Financial Officer of WPS Health Solutions

05/19/2017

She will succeed Tom Nelson, who is retiring on June 30, concluding a 35-year career at WPS. She began duties at WPS on May 8.
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WPS is named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the eighth consecutive year

WPS is named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® for the eighth consecutive year

03/13/2017

WPS Health Solutions again is being recognized by the Ethisphere® Institute as a World’s Most Ethical Company®.
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Operation Fan Mail - Michael Kirby

Army veteran Michael Kirby saluted for Operation Fan Mail

01/08/2017

He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and later provided logistics support to the Pacific Command.
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2016

Operation Fan Mail - James German

Senior Airman James German saluted for Operation Fan Mail

12/24/2016

He is assigned to the 31st Security Forces Squadron at Aviano Air Base in Italy.
Read full article

Operation Fan Mail - Andrew White

Marine Capt. Andrew White saluted for Operation Fan Mail

12/11/2016

For much of 2016, he has served with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit for a Western Pacific deployment.
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Operation Fan Mail - Dan Goldthorpe

Dan Goldthorpe saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

12/04/2016

Retired Army colonel and Wisconsin native served as an airborne ranger and infantry officer, completing six deployments.
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Operation Fan Mail - Walter Grochowina

Walter Grochowina saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

11/06/2016

He comes from a military family, with both of his parents, brother, grandfather and uncle all having served in various branches of the military.
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Operation Fan Mail - John Rutt

John Rutt saluted Thursday for Operation Fan Mail

10/20/2016

Rutt, originally from Sterling, Illinois, was drafted into the Air Force division of the U.S. Army in 1943.
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Halli Stewart saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

10/16/2016

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Halli Stewart and her family during Sunday’s Packers-Cowboys game for Operation Fan Mail.

Stewart, originally from Racine, Wis., enlisted in the U.S. Army as a combat medic in 1995 and eventually discovered her love and passion for education as a combat lifesaver instructor.

During her military career, she completed her medical training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, and also was stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington, and Fort Knox in Kentucky. As a medic, she provided medical support for a cavalry squadron, and as an instructor, she provided first-aid and CPR training to military personnel who were not in the medical field.

She served in the U.S. Army until 2000, and soon went back to school, earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She then began working as a high school reading teacher in Racine and soon earned her master’s degree from Alverno College.

In 2015, Stewart received the Pat Tillman Scholarship, designed for active duty service members, veterans and their spouses, which is helping her fund her studies as she pursues a Ph.D. at UW-Milwaukee.

Stewart also works as an instructional coordinator in the Racine Unified School District. She attended Sunday’s game with her son, Noah, father, Joe, and partner, Erica.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2016 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 93 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or submitted online at packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Packers and WPS salute combat-disabled and wounded veterans for Operation Fan Mail

10/10/2016

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to six combat-disabled and wounded veterans during Sunday’s Packers-Giants game for Operation Fan Mail.

The veterans, all of whom served in the U.S. Marine Corps or U.S. Army, are:

  • Sgt. Gregory Haak from Oregon, Wis.
  • Cpl. Jeremy Stengel from Mukwonago, Wis.
  • Sgt. Jason Johns from Oregon, Wis.
  • Staff Sgt. Andrew Diaz from Ralls, Texas
  • Lance Cpl. Scott Kruchten from Madison, Wis.
  • Cpl. Kevin Hanrahan from Black River Falls, Wis.

Between them, the veterans served for a total of more than 48 years of military service. Their collective service includes deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and the Western Pacific.

Many members of the group served together, and currently work closely with veterans organizations.

Highly decorated veterans, the group’s awards include numerous Meritorious Service Medals, ribbons, Purple Hearts, Commendation Medals with Valor in combat, and multiple Combat Action Ribbons per person.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2016 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 92 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or submitted online at packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Rachel Petri-Rose and family saluted for Operation Fan Mail

9/25/2016

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions paid special tribute to Capt. Rachel Petri-Rose and her family during Sunday’s Packers-Lions game for Operation Fan Mail.

Petri-Rose, originally from Racine, enlisted in the Army in 1994 as a supply specialist. In 2004, she enlisted in the Air Force as a computer networking specialist, and received commission as a logistics readiness officer in 2008.

She has been stationed at various Air Force bases around the country, and has also been deployed to Djibouti in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as Morón, Spain.

Petri-Rose is currently stationed in Madison, where she teaches ROTC at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As Operations Flight Commander, she is responsible for instructing and overseeing the training of 70 cadets.

During her career, Petri-Rose has earned several medals, including the Commendation Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Expeditionary Medal and Joint Achievement Medal.

Between Petri-Rose and her husband, Bryan, who served nine years in the Army, they have moved nine times since 1996 due to their military obligations. They have been married for 20 years, and recently celebrated their anniversary by touring Lambeau Field. Petri-Rose, an avid Packers fan, is also a Packers shareholder.

Sunday’s game was Petri-Rose’s first time seeing a game at Lambeau Field, and she attended with her husband and two of their four children, Riley and Kelton.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Solutions will host a family at each 2016 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 86 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Solutions are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or submitted online at packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


WPS is part of contract award for TRICARE 2017 East Region

7/22/2016

WPS Military and Veterans Health will partner with Humana

WPS Military and Veterans Health is taking on additional contract work for TRICARE, which is the federal health and benefits insurance for active-duty military personnel, retirees and their families.

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded Humana Government Business the TRICARE 2017 contract for the East Region, and WPS MVH is partnering as a subcontractor. The contract provides five, one-year options exercisable by the Department of Defense.

WPS MVH will provide information technology support, claims processing, and customer service functions. WPS MVH is one of the business units of WPS Health Solutions, based in Madison.

“This is exciting news for all of us at WPS,” said WPS Health Solutions President and CEO Mike Hamerlik. “By partnering with Humana, we are able to leverage our resources to secure a share of this important contract.”

The Defense Health Agency (DHA), which oversees the TRICARE program, announced its selection on July 21. The East Region comprises 30 states with approximately 6 million beneficiaries.

Currently, Humana holds the contract for the TRICARE South Region. The new East Region is a combination of the current South and North regions.

WPS MVH already has two other TRICARE contracts, providing claims administration, customer service, and related activities for the TRICARE Overseas Program and the TRICARE for Life program. WPS MVH also does contract work for the Veterans Choice program, which is operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“The award of the East Region recognizes the great work of the WPS MVH employees and those WPS employees who support the TRICARE and VA programs,” said Brian Brugger, Executive Vice President of MVH.


Dr. William Winkenwerder joins WPS Board of Directors

7/14/2016

Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs also held executive positions in insurance and health care

A nationally known health care strategist, with extensive leadership experience in the Department of Defense and the private health sector, has been elected to the Board of Directors for Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation, doing business as WPS Health Solutions.

Dr. William Winkenwerder currently is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Winkenwerder Strategies, a health care advisory and investment firm based in New York. He is an expert in health care finance, health insurance operations, federal health policy, and new technologies.

From 2001 to 2007, Dr. Winkenwerder was Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs with responsibility for a $40 billion annual budget, 132,000 personnel, and 9.2 million beneficiaries worldwide.

“Bill Winkenwerder is a national health care leader who understands the intricacies of government contracts,” said Mike Hamerlik, President and CEO of WPS. “He has a wealth of knowledge about health care delivery and technological innovations that can help transform the health care system in the United States. We are fortunate to benefit from his expertise on the WPS Board of Directors.”

From 2012 to 2014, Dr. Winkenwerder was President and CEO of Highmark Health, a Pennsylvania-based diversified insurance and health care enterprise, with revenues of $17 billion, employing 38,000 people and serving 35 million individuals. He led a transformation to create the third-largest integrated health care delivery and financing network in the nation. Highmark Health operates Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in multiple states, and provides dental insurance, vision care, and other health services. Highmark Health also operates Allegheny Health Network, comprised of seven hospitals and more than 2,500 affiliated physicians.

Earlier in his career, he held senior leadership positions at Blue Cross of Massachusetts, Prudential Healthcare, and Emory University. Dr. Winkenwerder is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a board-certified physician who practiced primary-care medicine.

As a thought leader, Dr. Winkenwerder has been an advocate for preventive health care, evidence-based medicine, internet technology-based solutions, and consumer engagement. He has worked closely with major national employers on their health care cost issues. He has been a health industry strategist, an adviser to presidential candidates, and a news media contributor on health issues.

A graduate of Davidson College in North Carolina and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Dr. Winkenwerder received a Master of Business Administration degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


WPS Health Solutions receives case management award

6/29/2016

OnBase streamlined credentialing process for Medicare provider enrollment

The Workflow Management Coalition has presented WPS Health Solutions with a 2016 Global Award for Excellence in Case Management for its use of OnBase by Hyland to accelerate its data-driven provider credentialing process.

WPS was selected for its use of a dynamic case management solution to connect and automate information to review and enroll physicians and medical facilities that offer Medicare services.

Working with Naviant, an authorized OnBase solution provider, WPS used the OnBase enterprise information platform to:

  • Streamline its credentialing process for provider enrollment
  • Reduce printing costs
  • Simplify its reporting processes related to provider enrollment applications
  • Achieve provider enrollment timeliness and quality standards

“The OnBase case management solution provides a comprehensive view of information tied to the multiple sources our employees need to review and validate for provider enrollment submissions,” said Janet Kyle, Executive Vice President of WPS Government Health Administrators. “The solution helped us drastically reduce processing times and become one of the most efficient Medicare Administrative Contractors for provider enrollment. It’s been so successful that our executive team has decided to expand OnBase across the entire GHA division to gain additional efficiencies.”

Also receiving the 2016 award was Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance of Grinnell, Iowa. The winners were announced on June 28 during the 2016 BPM & Case Management Global Summit in Washington, D.C., where attendees learned about successful and effective business process management (BPM) and case management initiatives.

About Naviant

Founded in 1986, Naviant has been a leader and sophisticated solutions integrator within the progressive evolution of the content management industry. Naviant proudly serves over 2,500 mid-size and global organizations and is headquartered in Wisconsin. As an OnBase Diamond Authorized OnBase Solutions Integrator and Support Provider, Naviant has achieved the highest recognition from Hyland, creator of OnBase, for providing superior technical support to its customers. For more information, please visit Naviant.com.

About OnBase by Hyland

OnBase is a single enterprise information platform for managing content, processes and cases. Providing enterprise content management (ECM), case management, business process management (BPM), records management and capture all on a single platform, OnBase transforms organizations around the globe by empowering them to become more agile, efficient and effective. Enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) for the OnBase platform is available with our complementary offering, ShareBase by Hyland. To learn more about how more than 15,000 organizations are digitizing their workplaces to transform their business operations, visit OnBase.com.


Dr. Michael Ostrov promoted to Chief Medical Officer

6/21/2016

He is the Wisconsin Medical Society’s 2016 Physician Citizen of the Year

Dr. Michael Ostrov has been promoted to Chief Medical Officer for WPS Health Insurance and Arise Health Plan, according to Executive Vice President Scott Kowalski.

Ostrov, who succeeds Dr. Phil Colmenares, had been Medical Director Network and Quality since joining WPS in February 2015.

A family medicine physician, Ostrov previously was Medical Director at Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin in Madison, and Chief Medical Officer at Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care in Madison and Janesville.

In April, Ostrov was named the Wisconsin Medical Society’s 2016 Physician Citizen of the Year. He was selected for his extraordinary efforts in furthering the conversation about advance care planning and end-of-life care in Wisconsin.

A native of Detroit, Ostrov has a degree in psychology from the University of Michigan. He received his medical degree from St. Louis University and completed his residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He earned a master’s degree in administrative medicine from the University of Wisconsin.

WPS Health Insurance and Arise Health Plan are two of the branded business units of WPS Health Solutions. Other brands are WPS Military and Veterans Health, WPS Government Health Administrators, and EPIC Specialty Benefits.


WPS is honored for outstanding support of Air Force Reserve

6/7/2016

Keesler Air Force Base hosts employer appreciation event

WPS Health Solutions recently was recognized by the Air Force Reserve Command for outstanding support as an employer of Air Force Reserve Citizen Airmen.

President and CEO Mike Hamerlik represented WPS at the May 20 employer appreciation event at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. The 403rd Wing hosted 15 employers of Air Force Reservists from across the nation.

Citizen Airmen nominated their employers for the event, which gave employers the opportunity to learn about the missions of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), Air Force Reserve and 403rd Wing.

Rob Palmer, Vice President of Government Relations at WPS, nominated WPS for the recognition and he also attended the event. An Air Force Reservist who was on active duty for 10 years, Rob came to WPS in 2015 from the Air Force Reserve Command, where he was Director of Public Affairs. Rob continues to serve in the Air Force Reserve assigned to United States Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

“Even though I’m eligible for retirement from the Reserve, Mike encouraged me to continue to serve,” said Palmer, who holds the rank of colonel. “The support I have received from Mike, the executive staff, and the Veteran Enhancement Team has been incredible.”

Employer support is crucial to Reserve service, said Col. Frank L. Amodeo, 403rd Wing commander. “We can’t do it without your support,” he said.

The 403rd Wing is an Air Force Reserve tenant unit at Keesler that provides weather reconnaissance in support of the Department of Commerce, as well as tactical airlift to transport supplies, equipment and personnel in theaters of operation.

During a tour, employer representatives learned about the capabilities of the WC-130J and C-130J, the 41st Aerial Port Squadron, and 81st Medical Group and Keesler Medical Center.

The 403rd Wing is one of the Reserve and National Guard units that comprise 38 percent of the nation’s available military manpower.

ESGR is a Department of Defense organization established to recognize outstanding employer support, increase awareness of the law, and resolve conflicts between reservists and employers through mediation.


WPS wins Wisconsin business ethics award

5/18/2016

2016 BBB Torch Awards for Business Ethics and Integrity presented by the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau Foundation

WPS Health Solutions is one of the winners of the 2016 BBB Torch Awards for Business Ethics and Integrity, presented by the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau Foundation.

WPS was named the winner in the category for more than 500 employees; Johnsonville Sausage of Sheboygan Falls was runner-up. Earning honorable mentions were CUNA Mutual Group of Madison and ManpowerGroup of Milwaukee. Results were announced on May 17 at a luncheon in Milwaukee. Accepting the award for WPS was Jane Keller-Allen, vice president of Internal Audit, Compliance and Risk.

WPS was nominated by Arianna Schmidt, a senior at Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon. Her mother, Holly Schmidt, works for a WPS subsidiary, Arise Health Plan, in De Pere. Arianna and her Business Policy classmates worked in groups to choose ethical businesses to nominate for the BBB program. Various WPS departments then compiled supporting documentation for the nomination application, including a testimonial from a community organization.

The Torch Awards program recognizes Wisconsin businesses and nonprofit organizations that demonstrate excellence in ethical practices, service excellence, reputation, honest advertising, peer recognition, management practices and employee training in ethical behavior. A complete list of the results is available at www.bbb.org/wisconsin.


Aspirus Arise receives Wisconsin Certificate of Authority

4/13/2016

Wausau-based company plans affordable, high-quality insurance offerings for 2017

Aspirus Arise Health Plan of Wisconsin (Aspirus Arise) achieved a major milestone today when it was granted a Certificate of Authority from the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI). This means the Wausau-based health plan, formally unveiled in January, can offer consumers in north-central Wisconsin new health insurance options.

“Individuals, families, and businesses will have new, affordable, high-quality health insurance options next year,” said Brett Davis, Aspirus Arise President and CEO. “We are focused on enhancing the value of health care services in north-central Wisconsin. Aspirus Arise is pioneering a model of cooperation that focuses on well-being at all stages of life,” he said.

“The Certificate of Authority is the culmination of an extensive review process by OCI,” Davis said. As a new insurance company, Aspirus Arise had to file documentation relating to the corporate structure, financial statements, and the proposed business plan.

Aspirus Arise is equally owned by Aspirus, a non-profit health system based in Wausau, and WPS Health Solutions, based in Madison. Leaders from both organizations provide governance for Aspirus Arise.

Aspirus has more than 7,000 employees, four hospitals in Wisconsin, four in Michigan, 50 clinics, home health and hospice care, pharmacies, critical care and helicopter transport, medical goods, nursing homes, and high-quality Aspirus Network doctors and medical specialists.

WPS Health Solutions already had a close working relationship with Aspirus through its subsidiary, Arise Health Plan, and WPS Health Insurance. For 2016, Arise Health Plan continues to offer Aspirus Arise individual and small-group health plans.

Aspirus Arise will continue to work with the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as it begins selling individual Marketplace, small-group, large-group, and self-funded plans in 16 counties in north-central Wisconsin with 2017 effective dates.


WPS medical leader named Physician Citizen of the Year

3/18/2016

Wisconsin Medical Society recognizes Dr. Michael Ostrov for furthering the conversation about advance care planning

Dr. Michael Ostrov, Medical Director, Network and Quality, at WPS Health Solutions, has been named the Wisconsin Medical Society’s 2016 Physician Citizen of the Year.

He was selected for his extraordinary efforts in furthering the conversation about advance care planning (ACP) and end-of-life care in Wisconsin. Dr. Ostrov will receive the award during the inaugural ceremony at the Society’s Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 2, in Madison. ACP is the process of reflecting on, understanding and discussing future medical decisions, including end-of-life preference.

A family medicine physician, Dr. Ostrov joined WPS in February 2015. He previously was Medical Director at Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin (GHC-SCW) in Madison, and Chief Medical Officer at Agrace Hospice and Palliative Care in Madison and Janesville.

“Dr. Ostrov is a true inspiration to his peers, and has earned the deep appreciation of patients and families throughout Wisconsin and the utmost respect of his colleagues,” said Society Chief Executive Officer Rick Abrams.

In 2012, GHC-SCW became one of the first six organizations to join Honoring Choices Wisconsin, which is the Society’s advance care planning initiative. He also supported the work of a team from GHC-SCW in the design and implementation of a sustainable advance care planning service. At Agrace, he helped develop a program that trained staff to be ACP facilitators.

Under Dr. Ostrov’s leadership in 2015, WPS became one of the first private insurers to offer coverage for advance care planning. Starting in September 2015 for eligible members, WPS Health Insurance and the Arise Health Plan subsidiary began paying for an initial 30-minute counseling session and up to two additional 30-minute sessions within one calendar year.

“High-value health care is a key part of the WPS vision,” said Dr. Phil Colmenares, Chief Medical Officer for WPS. “We are very lucky to have Michael on the team. He genuinely believes in the WPS mission, and his efforts with regard to advance care planning reimbursement are evidence of that.”

Dr. Ostrov said he is honored to receive the award.

“In my work as a family physician, I always found it extremely rewarding to talk with my patients about their life-long health goals. Advance care planning is a new way to foster this conversation. It feels very good to see so much progress being made over the past few years through the combined efforts of the Medical Society and health systems throughout Wisconsin,” he said.

“These ACP conversations are the right thing to do for people and their loved ones, and now is the right time to bring health insurers and doctor’s offices into this picture. I have really appreciated the support many people at WPS have given me in helping create this new ACP coverage program.”

Awarded annually, the Physician Citizen of the Year Award recognizes physicians who have volunteered their time and talents to improve their communities. It also honors the recipients for the civic, economic or charitable services they provide.

With nearly 13,000 members, the Wisconsin Medical Society is the largest association of medical doctors in the state.


WPS presented with Fit-Friendly Worksite gold award

3/15/2016

American Heart Association recognizes employers that encourage physical activity, provide healthy eating options, and promote a culture of wellness

WPS Health Solutions has achieved gold-level status as an American Heart Association Fit-Friendly Worksite.

The Fit-Friendly Worksite designation recognizes employers for encouraging employee physical activity, providing healthy eating options at work, and promoting a culture of wellness. To qualify for gold-level recognition, a worksite must achieve certain criteria in each of those three categories, and all initiatives must be in place for at least one year.

In addition, a Fit-Friendly Worksite employer must adhere to a comprehensive tobacco-free policy that includes access to tobacco cessation resources and treatment options.

“As a health insurer, it’s important for WPS to encourage a healthy lifestyle for our employees,” said Scott Kowalski, Executive Vice President of WPS Health Insurance. “It’s an honor to have the American Heart Association recognize WPS for our health and wellness initiatives. We will continue to encourage employees to manage their health risks and improve their cardiovascular health.”

Fitness-related initiatives at WPS in the past year include:

  • Fitness campaigns for employees throughout the year.
  • Fitness tips on the corporate intranet and a wellness portal that provides information on walking/exercise programs.
  • Walking routes on the campus.
  • Subsidized on-site group fitness classes and personal training before, during and after the work day.
  • Wellness reimbursement program for eligible employees, up to $100 per year. Reimbursable items include gym memberships, fitness trackers, personal training, and Community Supported Agriculture healthy food programs.
  • Nutrition facts information in the cafeterias and on the intranet to help employees make informed decisions.
  • The main campus cafeterias provide employees with a salad bar subsidy. Other subsidized items include prepared salads and veggie cups in the vending areas. The subsidy encourages employees to consume healthier foods.
  • On-site wellness screening available at no cost to employees, along with an online health risk assessment.
  • WPS team for the American Heart Association Heart Walk, along with educational campaigns to raise awareness of the risk of heart disease and stroke.

First-responder program that provides training in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and automated external defibrillator (AED) units.


Lottery sweepstakes scam

3/14/2016

WPS Health Solutions has become aware of a lottery sweepstakes scam in which fraudulent checks bearing the WPS name are being utilized. Individuals are contacted via mail with a letter from Unity Financial Company informing them that they are “winners” of a EUROPEAN, AFRICAN AND USA Consumer Sweepstake for the amount of $250,000. Accompanying the letter is a fraudulent check bearing the “Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation” name. The instructions on the letter inform the “winner” that the attached check is to help pay the processing fee of the winnings. The “winner” is instructed to return, via MoneyGram Money Transfer or Western Union, a portion of the funds from the cashed check.

Individuals receiving this letter and check should be aware that individuals may be trying to gain access to their bank accounts, or other personal information. Individuals who cash the check may be putting themselves at financial risk. Once the bank determines the check is fraudulent, the individual who cashed the check could be held responsible for returning funds back to the bank. Anyone who receives this lottery sweepstakes scam letter and check is encouraged to report it to WPS at 608-977-5000 and ask to speak to Jane Keller-Allen or Angela Julian, WPS compliance officers.


WPS and its marketing agency win 11 advertising awards

3/8/2016

Local program showcases branding initiative at WPS and its subsidiaries

WPS Health Solutions and its agency, Rippe Keane Marketing, won 11 awards at the American Advertising Federation’s annual ADDY Awards ceremony for the Madison chapter.

The awards feature a new branding strategy unveiled in 2015, as well as a WPS Medicare Supplement commercial for television and in-theater audiences.

“This is unprecedented for WPS Health Solutions and unusual for one company to win so many awards,” said Ellen Foley, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at WPS. “One video, for EPIC Specialty Benefits, won three awards, proving that the quality of work is solidly at the top of the local market.”

The awards, which were presented on Feb. 27, recognize the work of Scott Rippe and the team at Rippe Keane Marketing, as well as the WPS multimedia team and writing/editing group, both led by Stephanie Tervort.

The gold-winning entries now advance to regional competition.

Here are the awards won by WPS in conjunction with Rippe Keane Marketing:

  • GOLD: EPIC Specialty Benefits Brand Story Video (video editing category)
  • GOLD: EPIC Specialty Benefits Brand Story Video (copywriting category)
  • GOLD: WPS Medicare Supplement spot (cinema category)
  • SILVER: WPS Brand Introduction Video (voiceover category)
  • SILVER: Arise Health Plan Brand Video (voiceover category)
  • SILVER: Arise Health Plan Brand Video (copywriting category)
  • SILVER: Arise Health Plan Brand Story Video (video, branded content/entertainment, non-broadcast category)
  • SILVER: WPS Medicare Supplement spot (video editing category)
  • SILVER: WPS Medicare Supplement spot (regional television category)
  • SILVER: WPS Health Insurance Brand Video (copywriting category)
  • SILVER: EPIC Specialty Benefits Brand Story Video (video, branded content/entertainment, non-broadcast category)

More about the branding program at WPS Health Solutions:
WPS unveiled a major branding project in 2015 to focus on the distinctive characteristics of the company’s various lines of business. For years, the company was commonly known as WPS Health Insurance, but that doesn’t fully describe its diverse portfolio of products and services.

The company’s new parent brand is WPS Health Solutions. It serves as the umbrella for five other brands that directly serve customers.

They are:

  • WPS Health Insurance
  • Arise Health Plan
  • WPS Military and Veterans Health (formerly known as the TRICARE Division)
  • WPS Government Health Administrators (formerly known as the Medicare Division)
  • EPIC Specialty Benefits (formerly known as The EPIC Life Insurance Company)

Following extensive research and analysis, attributes were selected to describe each of the brands. These attributes serve as the road map to help our employees focus on providing the best possible service to our customers.


WPS announces new VP of Provider Relations

3/7/2016

Mark Xistris has decades of experience working with health care providers

Mark Xistris is the new Vice President of Provider Relations at WPS Health Solutions. He succeeds Brett Davis, who became President of Aspirus Arise Health Plan of Wisconsin.

Xistris comes to WPS from The Alliance, a Madison-based cooperative of more than 240 self-funded employers and insurance trusts. He joined The Alliance in 1997 and held positions of increasing responsibility, most recently as Vice President, Business Development and Provider Relations. Earlier in his career, he worked in managed care contracting at UW Health in Madison

Since 2005, Xistris has been a member of the board of directors of the Wisconsin Health Information Organization. WHIO is Wisconsin’s all-payer claims database, governed by a board that includes providers, insurance carriers, employers, and the state of Wisconsin. He is in his second term as treasurer and is chair of the Audit and Finance Committee.

Xistris earned a Master of Accountancy – Health Care Fiscal Management from the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


WPS Health Solutions receives case management award

6/29/2016


WPS chosen as one of World’s Most Ethical Companies®

3/7/2016

WPS Health Solutions has been recognized by the Ethisphere® Institute as a 2016 World’s Most Ethical Company®. This is the seventh time that WPS has been honored with the award.

Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation (WPS Health Solutions) is one of 131 companies being recognized this year.

“We at WPS take pride in having an effective compliance program, a culture of ethics, and a commitment to good corporate citizenship, effective leadership and solid governance,” said WPS Vice President of Internal Audit, Compliance and Risk Jane Keller-Allen. “The Ethisphere award validates our efforts and inspires us to continue to always do the right thing,” she said.

"Companies rely on Ethisphere to continually raise and measure the standards of corporate behavior,” said Ethisphere Chief Executive Officer Timothy Erblich. “Those that demonstrate leadership in areas like citizenship, integrity and transparency create more value for their investors, communities, customers and employees, thus solidifying a sustainable business advantage."

The World's Most Ethical Company assessment is based upon the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotient™ (EQ) framework developed over years of research and vetted and refined by the expert advice from its Methodology Advisory Panel. The EQ offers a quantitative way to assess a company’s performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way.

The information collected provides a comprehensive sampling of definitive criteria of core competencies. Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (35%); corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%); culture of ethics (20%); governance (15%); and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%).

The full list of the 2016 World's Most Ethical Companies can be found at worldsmostethicalcompanies.ethisphere.com/honorees/.


Aspirus and Arise form new health insurance company

1/27/2016

Aspirus and WPS Health Solutions today announced they are creating a new health insurance company in north-central Wisconsin.

Starting later this year, Aspirus Arise Health Plan of Wisconsin – known publicly as Aspirus Arise – will begin marketing individual marketplace, small group, large group and self-funded plans in 16 counties in north-central Wisconsin for 2017 effective dates, pending approval from the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and other appropriate regulatory agencies.

Aspirus is a non-profit health system based in Wausau, Wis. The integrated system has more than 7,000 employees and includes four hospitals in Michigan and four hospitals in Wisconsin, 50 clinics, home health and hospice care, pharmacies, critical care and helicopter transport, medical goods, nursing homes and high-quality Aspirus Network providers.

Arise Health Plan is part of the family of brands of WPS Health Solutions, which is based in Madison, Wis. Arise offers comprehensive and affordable health plan options and personalized service to businesses and individuals.“Aspirus and Arise have a successful record of working together to offer high-quality care with affordable prices,” said Mike Hamerlik, President and CEO of WPS Health Solutions. “Now, by expanding our relationship to form this health insurance company, we are better positioned to serve patients in a more personalized way.”

A holding company that is equally owned by Aspirus and WPS will provide governance for the new Aspirus Arise company.

“Aspirus and Arise are committed to improving the health of our communities by working together,” said Matt Heywood, CEO and President of Aspirus. “Our goal is to tackle the problem of affordability. At Aspirus, we believe we can best achieve that goal by partnering with a trusted insurance company that understands the marketplace in this region.”

Brett Davis, President of Aspirus Arise, said, “Aspirus Arise will provide direct access to high-value, personalized health care that improves health and wellbeing across all stages of life and every care need. We are focused on meeting the needs of individuals, families, and businesses in north-central Wisconsin.”

For 2016, Arise Health Plan will continue to offer cobranded Aspirus Arise individual and small-group health plans both on and off the Federally Facilitated Marketplace.

About Aspirus
Aspirus is a non-profit, community-directed health system based in Wausau, Wisconsin. With more than 7,000 employees, Aspirus serves communities throughout 14 counties in northern and central Wisconsin, as well as the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The integrated system includes four hospitals in Michigan and four hospitals in Wisconsin, 50 clinics, home health and hospice care, pharmacies, critical care and helicopter transport, medical goods, nursing homes and high-quality affiliated physicians.


Shannon Frazier and family saluted for Operation Fan Mail

1/3/2016

The Green Bay Packers and Arise Health Plan paid special tribute to Capt. Shannon Frazier and her family during Sunday’s Packers-Vikings game for Operation Fan Mail.

Frazier, originally from Oconto, Wis., has served in the U.S. Army since 1996, when she enlisted as an automated logistical specialist.

During her 19 years in the military, she has served as budget officer for the United States Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. While in this position, she was twice deployed to Afghanistan and served as a military liaison at the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) in the Pentagon.

Frazier has participated in five combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve. She is part of a family tradition of military service, as her father, Barry Danford, is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and her nephew, Spc. Nathan Danford, serves in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Currently, Frazier is assigned as the Commander of Charlie Detachment, 4th Financial Management Support Unit, at Fort Bliss, Texas, and she has just returned from a nine-month deployment to Qatar.

Frazier attended Sunday’s game with her mother, Suzann, and her sisters, Stacy and Sandra.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and Arise Health Plan will host a family at each 2015 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 85 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and Arise Health Plan are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from Arise Health Plan. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.

2015

Alex Monfort and family saluted for Operation Fan Mail

12/13/2015

The Green Bay Packers and Arise Health Plan paid special tribute to Airman Alex Monfort and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Cowboys game for Operation Fan Mail.

Monfort, originally from Green Bay, has served in the Air Force since 2004, after graduating from Green Bay West High School. As a security forces combat arms instructor, Monfort provides marksmanship skills to Air Force personnel for pistols, rifles and machine guns for duty or deployment, and manages the shooting range scheduling program for 4,000 base personnel.

After being stationed in Wyoming and Delaware, Monfort deployed to Aviano, Italy, in 2013 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During his 11 years in the military, he has been awarded two Air Force Commendation Medals and one Air Force Achievement Medal, as well as the Commandant Leadership Award at Airman Leadership School.

Monfort and his wife, Stephanie, have been married seven years and they have two sons, Lincoln and Hudson. Their visit to Green Bay is their first time back in the U.S. since they moved to Italy. Monfort attended Sunday’s game with his wife, his sister, Lisa, and his brother-in-law, Corey.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and Arise Health Plan will host a family at each 2015 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 84 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and Arise Health Plan are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from Arise Health Plan. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Ryan Hendrix and family saluted for Operation Fan Mail

11/26/2016

The Green Bay Packers and Arise Health Plan paid special tribute to Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ryan Hendrix and his family during Thursday’s Packers-Bears game for Operation Fan Mail.

Hendrix, originally from Bonner, Mont., has served in the U.S. Army for 20 years, and has been deployed three times, once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. Throughout his career, he has been stationed in Kentucky, Arkansas, Washington, Colorado, New York and Germany, all the while supporting the Packers from afar. He is currently stationed at Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich.

As Field Logistics Manager, he’s responsible for providing day-to-day logistics support to the field, including sending out technical publications, maintenance messages, technical bulletins and safety of use messages. During his career, Hendrix has received numerous personal awards, service ribbons, unit awards and badges, including the Combat Action Badge, which recognizes soldiers who engage with or are engaged by the enemy.

Hendrix attended Thursday’s game, his first time seeing a game at Lambeau Field, with his wife, Jennifer, his son, Riley, and his sister-in-law, Jamie.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and Arise Health Plan will host a family at each 2015 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 83 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and Arise Health Plan are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from Arise Health Plan. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Matthew Hargis and family saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

11/15/2015

The Green Bay Packers and Arise Health Plan paid special tribute to Senior Airman Matthew Hargis and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Lions game for Operation Fan Mail. Hargis, who has served in the U.S. Air Force since 2012, currently is stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia and will deploy to the Middle East in January. As a Senior Airman, Hargis serves as an electrician, maintaining airfield lighting systems and the power supply of the base. During his time in the military, Hargis has received the Air Force Achievement Medal for setting up an Ebola decontamination compound to house military personnel and Department of Defense civilians returning from West Africa. Hargis’ father, Dwain, is an Army veteran himself, and was injured while serving in Iraq in 2007. The two attended the game together, along with Hargis’ mother, Lorie, and sister, Chelsea, who surprised him by coming to the game and arranging for him to be honored on the field. The family, originally from central Indiana, now lives in Elizabethtown, KY.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and Arise Health Plan will host a family at each 2015 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 82 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and Arise Health Plan are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from Arise Health Plan. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


WPS Health Insurance, Arise Health Plan offer incentive for advance care planning

10/22/2015

WPS Health Insurance and Arise Health Plan are providing a new incentive for eligible members to receive advance care planning guidance from their health care providers.

WPS Health Insurance and Arise Health Plan are part of the family of brands of WPS Health Solutions, a nationally regarded government contractor and Wisconsin’s leading not-for-profit health insurer.

Starting in September for eligible members, WPS Health Insurance and Arise Health Plan are paying for an initial 30-minute counseling session and up to two additional 30-minute sessions within one calendar year.

Initially, this coverage will apply to large groups, WPS-insured employees of WPS, and those insured through the state of Wisconsin Employee Trust Fund. Individual policies and small groups will be evaluated for consideration in 2016.

Medicare has proposed plans to cover advance care planning beginning January 1, 2016.

Less than half of adults have filled out an Advance Directive or talked with a loved one about what their preferences would be for end-of-life medical care, according to Dr. Michael Ostrov, Medical Director, Network and Quality, at WPS Health Solutions. Yet, surveys show that nine out of 10 think it would be a good idea.

“Having a trained facilitator helps a person and his or her family to successfully go through this process,” he said. “WPS has decided that providing insurance coverage for these conversations is the right thing to do and that the time has come to do it.”

This reimbursement by the two commercial health plans was applauded by the Wisconsin Medical Society, whose Honoring Choices Wisconsin initiative is building system change, advocacy and education around advance care planning.

Advance care planning is a process across time of understanding, reflecting on and discussing future medical decisions, including end-of-life preferences.

Advance care planning includes:

  • Understanding health care treatment options
  • Clarifying health care goals
  • Weighing options about what kind of care and treatment a patient would want to receive
  • Making decisions about whether to appoint a health care agent and/or complete an advance directive
  • Communicating wishes and any documents with family, friends, clergy, other advisers and health care professionals

Organizations participating in Honoring Choices Wisconsin offer facilitated advance care planning conversations to patients under the Respecting Choices® First Steps® model, a pioneering approach developed in La Crosse, Wis. They have agreed to embrace a common emphasis on improving the conversation across health systems; use patient-tested forms and informational materials; share lessons learned formally and informally; and support community outreach.

Eligible WPS Health Insurance and Arise Health Plan members of any age can have their advance care planning services performed and reimbursed. For healthy people, age 50 and older is the usual time to consider doing advance care planning, according to Dr. Ostrov.


Master Sgt. Will Frederick and family saluted for Operation Fan Mail

10/18/2015

Master Sgt. Will Frederick and family saluted for Operation Fan Mail

The Green Bay Packers and Arise Health Plan paid special tribute to Master Sgt. Will Frederick and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Chargers game for Operation Fan Mail.

Frederick, originally from Beaver Dam, Wis., has served in the Air Force for 23 years. He entered service in 1992 after the Gulf War, and has been stationed at multiple bases as a fuels management technician. Throughout his career, he has deployed in support of multiple contingency and humanitarian operations to Japan, Korea, Guam, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Currently, Frederick is the fuels management superintendent, non-commissioned officer in charge, at the 934th Airlift Wing in Minneapolis. He has received several awards during his time in the service, including contingency medals for the Global War on Terrorism and outstanding community service medals, and was named 2012 Air Force Reserve and Air Reserve Component “Fuels Management Technician of the Year.”

Frederick and his wife, Michelle, now live in Amery, Wis., and have four children, Ashley, Austin, Lauryn and Lane. They attended the game Sunday with their two sons, Austin and Lane. Their oldest son, Austin, has enlisted in the U.S. Army and will leave for basic training in June of 2016.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and Arise Health Plan will host a family at each 2015 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 81 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and Arise Health Plan are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from Arise Health Plan. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


WPS MedicareRx plans earn 5-star rating again

10/12/2015

For the second year in a row, the WPS MedicareRx Plan prescription drug plans (PDPs) are the highest-rated stand-alone Part D plans in Wisconsin, and the only PDPs in the state to earn 5 stars out of 5, according to the 2016 ratings issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The ratings take into consideration such factors as:

  • Customer service
  • Member complaints and Medicare audit findings
  • Member experience with drug plan services
  • Drug safety and accuracy of drug pricing

WPS is the only not-for-profit, stand-alone Medicare Part D plan provider in Wisconsin, serving more than 22,500 enrollees.

The 5-star rating means people can switch to the WPS MedicareRx plans any time during the year, not just during the annual enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

“Earning the 5-star rating for 2015 was an amazing achievement for WPS, especially given the very high bar CMS sets for this award,” said Jim Baird, Vice President, Individual Sales.

“To earn it two years in a row is truly remarkable. Only two carriers in the entire country were awarded 5 stars for 2016, which indicates what a rare distinction it really is. We should all be very proud that we work for a company that is devoted to performing at the very highest level,” he said.

Information for the ratings comes from member surveys, drug safety and accuracy of drug pricing, and other information that plans submit to Medicare, and from Medicare's regular monitoring activities. Part D plans help cover the cost of prescription medications for Medicare enrollees.

CMS rates health and drug plans annually to ensure they meet Medicare's quality standards, and encourages Medicare beneficiaries to compare and choose plans based on these ratings.

For more information on the Part D plan ratings, go to www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan.

Important notes:

  • The WPS MedicareRx Plan, offered by WPS Health Insurance, is a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in WPS MedicareRx Plan depends on contract renewal.
  • Medicare beneficiaries may also enroll in WPS MedicareRx Plans through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
  • Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
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Lt. Col. Brian Vogt and family saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

10/11/2015

The Green Bay Packers and Arise Health Plan paid special tribute to Lt. Col. Brian Vogt and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Rams game for Operation Fan Mail.

Vogt, from Manitowoc, Wis., has served in the U.S. Army for more than 19 years. After graduating from UW-Oshkosh on an ROTC scholarship, he was commissioned as an armor officer in 1996. Vogt then was stationed throughout the U.S., before deploying to Korea from 2000-01.

In 2003, Vogt served in Baghdad as a tank company commander, leading 76 soldiers and 14 M1A1 tanks. He again was deployed to Iraq in a leadership position in 2005 as a brigade headquarters company commander, and has been awarded with the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge.

During his time overseas, Vogt continued to support the Packers, watching the games when he could and passing his love of the team on to his fellow soldiers, and those he met while deployed.

Vogt and his wife, Kimberly, have been married for 19 years and attended the game together, along with their daughters, Allison and Emily. The family currently lives in Yorktown, Va., where Vogt works as a modeling and simulation officer at the Army Capabilities Integration Center at Fort Eustis.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and Arise Health Plan will host a family at each 2015 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 81 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and Arise Health Plan are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from Arise Health Plan. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Tyler Crane and family saluted Monday for Operation Fan Mail

09/29/2015

The Green Bay Packers and Arise Health Plan paid special tribute to Sgt. 1st Class Tyler Crane and his family during Monday’s Packers-Chiefs game for Operation Fan Mail.

Crane, from Port Charlotte, Fla., spent nine years as a U.S. Army Ranger, serving deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea before he was seriously wounded by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in November of 2013. Crane earned numerous decorations for his service and was awarded with a Purple Heart.

The Packers and Arise Health Plan also honored Crane’s family, including his father, Fred, who is a U.S. Army and U.S. Navy veteran, as well as his brothers Dustin and Nate, both of whom are U.S. Army veterans. Together, the family has more than 39 years of combined military service.

The Crane family attended Monday night’s game together, which was the first time in five years that the father and sons had all been together.

Crane lives in Florida with his wife, Amanda, and they have two young daughters, Kayleigh and Kadence.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and Arise Health Plan will host a family at each 2015 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 81 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and Arise Health Plan are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from Arise Health Plan. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


WPS partners with International SOS under new contract

09/24/2015

Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation (WPS) will continue its partnership with International SOS Government Services, Inc. through a new Defense Health Agency contract for the TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP).

In support of the contract, WPS will provide claims processing and associated customer service for health claims relating to U.S. military personnel serving overseas. The new five-year contract starts Sept. 1, 2016, and includes a one-year transition starting on September 1, 2015. WPS has been a subcontractor for International SOS and the TOP since 2010.

“We are extremely pleased with this new agreement. It validates the hard work our employees perform every day to support the TRICARE Overseas Program,” said Brian Brugger, Executive Vice President of WPS Military and Veterans Health. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with International SOS and our long history of servicing overseas beneficiaries, providers, and Government stakeholders.”

Under the new contract award, International SOS will continue to deliver health care services to U.S. active-duty service members, their family members, retirees and other TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries in nearly 200 countries and territories outside the United States and District of Columbia.


Packers salute combat-disabled and wounded veterans Operation Fan Mail program honors special guests at Lambeau Field

09/20/2015

The Green Bay Packers and Arise Health Plan paid special tribute to seven combat-disabled and wounded veterans during Sunday’s Packers-Seahawks game for Operation Fan Mail.

The veterans, all of whom served in the U.S. Marine Corps, are:

  • 1st Sgt. Timothy La Sage from Johnson Creek, Wis. (He is Manager of Physical Security and Military Affairs at WPS Health Solutions.)
  • Cpl. Bruce Brandon from Kenosha, Wis.
  • Sgt. Ryan Baudhuin from Door County, Wis.
  • 1st Lt. Dera Marcel from Port au Prince, Haiti
  • Sgt. Michael Gillitzer from Waterloo, Wis.
  • Cpl. Craig Goldsmith from Madison, Wis.
  • Gunnery Sgt. John Matter from Lisbon, Wis.

Between them, the veterans served for a total of more than 60 years of combined military service. Their collective service includes deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and the western Pacific.

Many members of the group served together, and currently work closely with veterans organizations.

As highly decorated veterans, their awards include numerous meritorious service medals, ribbons, bronze stars and Purple Hearts.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and Arise Health Plan will host a family at each 2015 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 81 individuals or families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and Arise Health Plan are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from Arise Health Plan. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Rob Palmer joins executive team at WPS

8/21/2015

Rob Palmer is the new Vice President of Government Relations at WPS Health Solutions. He succeeds Christine Russell, who has retired.

An Air Force Reservist who has spent the last 10 years serving on active duty, he comes to WPS from the Air Force Reserve Command, where he was Director of Public Affairs since 2012. Based in Georgia, he was the chief communication officer and spokesman for one of the Air Force’s 10 major commands. Air Force Reserve Command has more than 70,000 Air Force Reservists.

Palmer previously was Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, where he was responsible for educating members of Congress and their staffs about the commands’ mission and activities.

For six months in 2012, Palmer had a developmental assignment as Special Assistant to the Chief of Strategy and Assessments in the Office of Air Force Public Affairs. He was responsible for strategic communications planning for the Air Force’s 2013 budget roll-out and force structure announcement.

With a background in government relations that spans two decades, Palmer’s experience includes executive roles for three employer trade associations and staff positions for two members of Congress.

“Rob Palmer has exceptional credentials and will be a valuable liaison between WPS and key government officials,” said WPS President and CEO Mike Hamerlik. “Rob’s background is especially helpful in nurturing relationships for our government contracts.”

Palmer earned a master’s degree in international affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts. He also earned a master of public affairs degree from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina.

“WPS is a great company with a long history of serving the people of Wisconsin,” Palmer said. “I am truly humbled to join this outstanding team.”

Palmer continues to serve in the Air Force Reserve as an individual mobilization augmentee assigned to United States Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.


Packers, Arise Health Plan present 'Operation Fan Mail' for 2015

08/06/2015

Operation Fan Mail, the program that recognizes military families at each Packers home game, will mark its ninth season in 2015, and the seventh year it has been presented by WPS Health Solutions or its affiliates.

The program, which debuted in 2007, is designed to honor families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and Arise Health Plan will host a family at each 2015 home game and recognize the members on the field during pregame activities. A total of 74 families have been saluted during the past seven seasons.

“We are honored to recognize military families through Operation Fan Mail for a ninth year,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “These brave men and women and their families make tremendous sacrifices for all of us, and we’re proud to salute them along with our fans at Lambeau Field.”

“Through the Operation Fan Mail program, we witness the remarkable and touching stories of outstanding military personnel and their families who make great sacrifices on behalf of our nation’s freedom,” said Ellen Foley, senior vice president of corporate communications at WPS Health Solutions, the parent company of Arise Health Plan. “For the seventh consecutive year, we are proud to partner with the Green Bay Packers to recognize the military families who will be honored at Lambeau Field during the 2015 season.”

The Packers and Arise Health Plan are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular family should be saluted. Essays can be sent to Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628 or can be submitted online.

Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling. Purple Heart recipients are also eligible for recognition, even if they cannot return to active service status.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families will receive four tickets to the game and a $150 Packers Pro Shop gift card courtesy of Arise Health Plan.


Kim Sponem joins WPS Board of Directors

07/27/2015

Kim Sponem, an expert in consumer science and personal finance, has been elected to the Board of Directors for Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation, doing business as WPS Health Solutions.

She is President and Chief Executive Officer of Madison-based Summit Credit Union, the second-largest credit union in Wisconsin, with $2.2 billion in assets and 135,000 members.

“Kim Sponem is a dynamic and visionary executive who has outstanding credentials and a track record of innovative leadership and effective change management,” said WPS Health Solutions President and CEO Mike Hamerlik. “Kim understands the marketplace from a consumer’s point of view, and we are excited to tap her expertise as an additional member of our Board of Directors.”

Sponem is well-known in Wisconsin and the credit union community for her volunteer leadership positions.

She is a member of the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce Board, Consumer Federation of America, and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council. She also is Chair of Corporate Central Credit Union (a credit union for credit unions).

Through her leadership, Summit is committed to financial education in the marketplace with programs such as Project Money, STAR Credit Union, Project Teen Money, Girl Scout Badge “Savvy Money,” Red Shoes, Foolproof Financial Literacy Online, and in-school branches.

Sponem earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Edgewood College in Madison. She holds an undergraduate degree in consumer science with a marketing emphasis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“I am excited and honored to be a part of the WPS Board of Directors,” Sponem said. “I hope to bring my consumer focus and understanding to the discussions and help create strategic partnerships for continued success.”


AboutHealth and Arise Health Plan announce major agreement

06/09/2015

Arise Health Plan has reached agreement with AboutHealth, a statewide health care organization committed to quality and efficiency, to offer co-branded products.

Arise is the first insurance company to contract with seven health systems and their Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), through AboutHealth, making it easier for patients to access high-quality, efficient health care providers across the state of Wisconsin at an affordable price. The agreement outlines a commitment to progress toward population health management and a demonstration of value-based care.

AboutHealth’s founding health systems include Aspirus, Aurora Health Care, Bellin Health, Gundersen Health System, ProHealth Care, ThedaCare and UW Health. Marshfield Clinic Health System recently joined AboutHealth, but is not yet part of the agreement at this time.

Arise and AboutHealth will offer co-branded individual and group coverage with AboutHealth providers for 2016, and will have individual and small-group plans on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace, or Exchange.

“We believe this is the future of health care, where partners come together to provide quality care at lower costs,” said Scott Kowalski, Chief Operating Officer of Arise Health Plan.

AboutHealth President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Devine said, “We are pleased to announce this agreement with Arise Health Plan, which shares our vision for high-quality, value-based health care. This is an exciting time to be part of AboutHealth. We are building a new standard for health care for our patients and our communities.”

The AboutHealth organization was developed to enhance clinical quality, increase efficiency, and improve customer experiences through shared practices. The Arise AboutHealth contracted providers presently provide access to care for about 90 percent of Wisconsin’s population and also serve patients in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota. These providers offer patients access to 47 hospitals and more than 7,000 providers.

Each of the participating organizations is a recognized leader for delivering some of the highest-quality, lowest-cost care in the state. Jeff Thompson, MD, chair of the AboutHealth Board of Directors and CEO of Gundersen Health System, said, “AboutHealth’s membership is made up of high-quality and low-cost providers from nearly all parts of the state. Our partnership with Arise will be aimed at continuing to provide high-valued services, especially for individuals and group purchasers who seek coverage across a broad geography of the state.”

For 2016, Arise will expand its service area to offer AboutHealth plans in 50 counties. (Depending on the county, offerings will include one or more of these plan categories: on-Exchange individual, off-Exchange individual, on-Exchange SHOP small group, off-Exchange small group, or large group.)


WPS partners with Naviant to improve Medicare workflow

05/01/2015

Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation (WPS) today announced a strategic partnership with Naviant, Inc. to bring enterprise content management and streamlined workflow processes to its operation as a Medicare Administrative Contractor for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

WPS has purchased OnBase by Hyland, a best-in-class enterprise content and case management system.

“By teaming with a top Hyland channel partner like Naviant, we’re finding important synergies that will help us make our Medicare operation more efficient,” said Jay Martinson, Executive Vice President of Medicare for WPS. “We’re just starting to see significant improvements after completing a successful pilot program.”

WPS and Naviant are designing a new electronic workflow and implementing the case management system that will affect all business units across the WPS Medicare division.

The OnBase pilot program in the Provider Enrollment unit at WPS produced significant improvements in productivity, comparing January 2015 to January 2014.

  • Part A: 149% productivity increase in applications processed
  • Part B: 49% increase
WPS engaged Eightfold Consulting, a business process re-engineering company, to evaluate the OnBase implementation in Provider Enrollment.

"WPS and Naviant built a very good product," said Kevin Erickson, Principal of the Fargo, N.D.-based consulting firm. "We have not seen a better implementation for this type of work."

The evaluation notes sophisticated workload management capabilities as well as a streamlined user interface that takes advantage of the latest OnBase features to speed processing and improve quality.

Development of the solution throughout the WPS Medicare operation began in April with implementation set for September.

OnBase is a flexible and comprehensive enterprise content management system that helps organizations manage documents and data in streamlined business operations. OnBase supports case management and empowers organizations to handle knowledge-driven work.


Starion Financial finalizes WPS Community Bank acquisition

04/13/2015

Starion Financial officially acquired WPS Community Bank, a subsidiary of Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation, at the close of business on April 10. The acquisition gives Starion three locations in the Madison metro area: Monona, Middleton and Sun Prairie.

“Divesting the bank allows WPS to continue to grow and innovate in our core business, and gives the bank the best opportunity to continue to grow and succeed,” said WPS Senior Vice President for Strategy and Business Development John Stephens.

“Since announcing the acquisition in October 2014, we’ve been preparing customers and employees for the transition,” explains Craig Larson, president/CEO of Starion Financial. “The acquisition enables us to expand our presence and increase our commitment to the Madison community. We are thrilled that 14 WPS Community Bank employees, including John Hecht, have joined Starion Financial.”

Starion has appointed Hecht market president. He is responsible for general management of the Monona, Middleton and Sun Prairie locations, including staff, financial and sales performance. Hecht was instrumental in the start-up of WPS Community Bank in 2009 and served as its only president/CEO. Under his leadership, WPS Community Bank grew to assets of more than $100 million. In 2014, the bank earned accolades including recognition from the Independent Community Bankers of America as one of the top 100 industry U.S. loan producers and the No. 3 ranking among independent banks in Wisconsin. Both Starion Financial and WPS Community Bank have five-star “superior” ratings from BauerFinancial, an independent bank rating firm.

“John brings banking experience in large and small banks with an emphasis in community banking to Starion Financial,” Larson said. “We are excited that he will lead this market so Starion can help even more businesses and individuals with their banking needs and help the community grow.”

Hecht is a licensed CPA with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and more than 30 years of banking experience. He is a board member for the Madison Chapter of Financial Executives International and serves the community as president of the Monona Chamber of Commerce board.

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead the three Starion Financial branches in the Madison area,” says Hecht. “Starion’s business model has integrity, which is very appealing to me and consistent with my personal values. I share the Larson family's passion and commitment to build stronger communities where we live and work.

“With these three locations, we can serve all of our customers even better with enhanced service delivery points and convenience for a broader market. Combined with the talent and support of the larger Starion organization, I am excited for the future.”

Starion Financial has been a family-owned community bank since 1969 when the Larson family purchased First National Bank of Oakes (N.D.). The bank experienced strong growth before expanding to Middleton in 2006 and Sun Prairie in 2013. In the past six years, Starion doubled its assets and has grown into a $1 billion “supercommunity” bank, with 15 locations and serving thousands of customers throughout Wisconsin and North Dakota. The bank has built its reputation on integrity, personalized service, local decision-making and community involvement. Starion Financial’s three locations are 5900 Gisholt Drive in Monona, 1651 John Q. Hammons Drive in Middleton and 326 S. Grand Ave. in Sun Prairie.

WPS Community Bank opened in 2009 as a subsidiary of Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation (WPS). Madison-based WPS is a nationally regarded government contractor and Wisconsin’s leading not-for-profit health insurer.


Ellen Foley honored with ATHENA Award

03/13/2015

Ellen Foley, senior vice president of corporate communications at WPS, was honored Tuesday night with the 2015 ATHENA Award from The Business Forum in Madison.

Foley and nine other nominees were recognized for demonstrating excellence and initiative in their careers, community involvement, and efforts to help women achieve their full potential. The international awards program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives.

Mike Hamerlik, president and CEO of the WPS Companies, congratulated Foley for winning the award, which recognizes some of the work she has accomplished since joining WPS in 2013. "Ellen has built a great team here at WPS with the very characteristics the ATHENA Award represents: mentoring and making meaningful connections," he said.

Foley’s accomplishments include being the first female editor of the Wisconsin State Journal when she moved to Madison in 2004. Under her leadership, the newspaper received many awards for online and print projects, including a Pulitzer Prize finalist honor in 2008.

As executive director of communications and community development at Madison Area Technical College, she led the successful effort to win a $134 million referendum in November 2010.

In 1988, Foley founded the Violence Against Women Coalition in Minneapolis-St. Paul after the tragic murder of her sister, Mary. The coalition successfully advocated for legislative change of the penalties for sexual predators.

In addition to leading the communications and marketing efforts for WPS, Foley is a journalist, marketing and communications adviser, community leader, mentor, coach and role model for women leaders, and remains active on numerous boards and organizations in Dane County.


WPS named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for sixth time

03/09/2015

WPS has once again been recognized by the Ethisphere® Institute as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® for 2015. This is the sixth time that WPS has been honored with this award, which recognizes organizations that continue to raise the bar on ethical leadership and corporate behavior.

A total of 132 companies made the list this year, and WPS is one of only two companies in the Accident & Health Insurance category.

“WPS prides itself on always having high ethical standards,” said WPS Vice President of Internal Audit, Compliance and Risk Jane Keller-Allen. “We believe our employees, customers, government officials, partners, and our communities respect and trust us to always do the right thing. We should all be proud to work for a company that is recognized for its ethical leadership,” she said.

“The World’s Most Ethical Companies embrace the correlation between ethical business practice and improved company performance. These companies use ethics as a means to further define their industry leadership,” said Ethisphere Chief Executive Officer Timothy Erblich. “We congratulate everyone at WPS for this extraordinary achievement.”

The World's Most Ethical Company assessment is based upon the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotient™ framework, which assesses performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way. The collected information provides a comprehensive sampling of criteria of core competencies.

Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (35%), corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%), culture of ethics (20%), governance (15%) and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%).

The full list of the 2015 World's Most Ethical Companies can be found at targehttp://ethisphere.com/worlds-most-ethical/wme-honorees/.


Eric Peterson saluted for Operation Fan Mail

01/12/2015

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to Navy Reserve Nurse Corps Commander Eric Peterson and his family during Sunday’s Packers-Cowboys game for Operation Fan Mail.

Peterson, who is originally from West Fargo, North Dakota, now lives in Appleton, Wisconsin, and serves as a commander in the nurse corps of the Navy Reserve.

In his years in the Reserve, he has been mobilized three times, the first of which was to the San Diego Medical Center in 2006 for one year.

For his next two mobilizations, he was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, once in 2009 for 13 months and again in 2013 for 10 months. While in Kandahar, Peterson worked at the NATO Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit and served as a trauma nurse and en route care nurse with the medical evacuation unit.

He has received several awards, including a Meritorious Service Medal and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two Gold Stars, among various other unit and deployment medals and ribbons.

He attended Sunday’s game with his wife of 22 years, Jodi, and their son, Alex, and daughter, Jenna.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance hosted a family at each 2014 home game and recognized them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 74 families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to:

Operation Fan Mail
P.O. Box 10628
Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628

Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at: http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS.

Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.

2014


Paul Ross saluted for Operation Fan Mail

12/28/2014

Special program recognizes active-duty military personnel

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to Army Sgt. First Class Paul Ross during Sunday’s Packers-Lions game for Operation Fan Mail.

Ross, who is originally from Peoria, Illinois, knew at a young age that he wanted to join the military and be a Green Beret. After enlisting in the National Guard, Ross transferred to the Army a few years later, and following the events of 9/11, he began working toward his goal of joining the Special Forces.

Ross has served in the Army for 19 years, the past 10 of which have been spent in the Special Forces. He has been deployed several times to Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait while serving as a Special Forces Communications Non-Commissioned Officer, Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant, and Special Forces Mountaineering Instructor.

Ross has received several awards, including the Bronze Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster, a Purple Heart, a Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and a Senior Parachutist’s Badge.

Ross currently serves at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, where he trains, prepares and manages a 12-man Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha or “A-Team.” Until recently, he was deployed to Afghanistan, but was able to return to Wisconsin this fall. He attended the game with his wife, Mary, his mother, Sue, and brother, Mike.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2014 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 73 families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Patrick Stamm saluted Monday for Operation Fan Mail

12/08/2014

Special program recognizes active-duty military personnel

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to Army Lt. Col. Patrick Stamm during Monday’s Packers-Falcons game for Operation Fan Mail.

Stamm, whose family is originally from Markesan, Wisconsin, grew up in a military family, as his father was an F-4 fighter pilot in Vietnam. Stamm was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1993, and served in both Germany and Bosnia. He re-entered civilian life in 1999; however, after 9/11, Patrick decided to rejoin the military and work as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Officer.

Following graduation from EOD School, he served in multiple combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. His final tour in Iraq was an exceptionally challenging 15-month deployment in which he coordinated U.S. efforts to counter improvised explosive device attacks.

Stamm has received the Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal, both with one oak leaf cluster, as well as the Master EOD Badge and the basic Airborne Parachutist Badge. Stamm is currently stationed at Fort Lee in Virginia, where he serves as the Deputy Director of the EOD Directorate.

Next year, after 22 years in the military, Stamm plans to retire. He and his wife, Marcia, have been married for 22 years and have two sons, Zachary and Jacob, and a daughter, Sophia.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2014 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 72 families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Brandon Mills saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

11/30/2014

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to Marine Corps Captain Brandon Mills during Sunday’s Packers-Patriots game for Operation Fan Mail.

Mills, originally from Decatur, Tennessee, joined the Marines in 2004. He served as the Battalion Logistics Officer for 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, and was responsible for the sustainment and maintenance of the battalion. He deployed to Afghanistan with this battalion in 2012 and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his outstanding service in supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

He also served two tours in Iraq in 2007 and 2008, and has received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, as well as the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Mills is currently serving at the Pentagon as the Marine White House Liaison Officer for the Secretary of the Navy. In this role, he manages the Presidential Support Program and conducts research and provides responses to Marine Corps related inquiries submitted to the White House on behalf of the President.

Mills and his wife, Nora, have been married seven years and have two sons, Andersen and Nathan.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2014 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 72 families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Danielle and Shane McDowell saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

11/17/2014

Special program recognizes active-duty military personnel

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to the McDowell family during Sunday’s Packers-Eagles game for Operation Fan Mail.

Air Force Technical Sgt. Danielle McDowell and her husband, Technical Sgt. Shane McDowell, are both currently stationed in Ramstein, Germany, at the Ramstein Air Base.

Danielle McDowell, originally from Tigerton, Wisconsin, has been in the Air Force for 12 years and recently returned to Germany from Kabul, which was her fifth deployment overall and her third to Afghanistan. At their home station in Germany, McDowell is the non-commissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of Outbound Assignments, where she reviews and approves all orders for active-duty members to change duty locations from Ramstein. She was honored as Airman of the Year while stationed in Portugal in 2006 and has earned several Air Force achievement and commendation medals.

Shane McDowell, originally from Cullman, Alabama, has been in the Air Force for 15 years. He has served in four overseas assignments, deploying once to Kyrgyzstan. He currently serves as the NCOIC of the Emergency Management Contingency Operations training site located at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany and has earned several Air Force achievement and commendation medals. The Packers-Eagles matchup on Sunday was his first time at an NFL game.

The McDowell family was home in Wisconsin for a visit and attended the game with Danielle’s parents, Mark and Joan Carlson.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2014 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 72 families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Kimmerling saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

11/09/2014

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to Sgt. Michael Kimmerling during Sunday’s Packers-Bears game for Operation Fan Mail.

Kimmerling, originally from Phelps, Wisconsin, enlisted with the U.S. Marine Corps in December 2006 and graduated from the School of Infantry – West as a meritorious lance corporal and machine gunner.

After his first two deployments to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2009, he re-enlisted and attended Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) School in February of 2011. After graduating, he spent two deployments in Afghanistan as an EOD Technician in 2012 and 2014, where he worked to locate, assess, neutralize and dispose of high-yield explosives, hazards and weapons of mass destruction.

He recently returned to the U.S. from his fourth deployment, his third spent in Afghanistan, and is currently stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. He has received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat V, as well as the Combat Action Ribbon, and has won the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal twice.

Kimmerling, who was scheduled to arrive back in Wisconsin soon, returned early to surprise his wife, Cassie, at Lambeau Field prior to Sunday’s game. They are expecting their first child soon and will be returning to California together after their son is born.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2014 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 72 families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


WPS adding staff for five-year VA project

11/05/2014

Hiring eventually could reach 280 in Wisconsin

WPS is doing a significant hiring wave for its Wausau office as part of a new program for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

WPS currently is a subcontractor for TriWest Healthcare Alliance of Phoenix for the Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) program in 28 states. The partnership is expanding for implementation of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA), which allows eligible veterans to receive health care in their communities rather than waiting more than 30 days for a VA appointment or traveling more than 40 miles to a VA medical facility.

As part of the new program, veterans enrolled with the VA will receive a new Choice Card that allows them to seek care outside of the VA under certain conditions. The massive mailing begins this month and will continue until January 2015.

For its part of the project, WPS will be issuing the Choice Cards, processing claims and providing customer service functions for the program for five years.

WPS expects to hire approximately 100 employees in Wausau in November for the Choice Card program. Hiring could reach 280 employees with about 250 of them in Wausau and the rest in Madison.

“WPS is growing in Wausau as a result of this new work on behalf of our veterans, who are among our closest customers,” said WPS President and CEO Mike Hamerlik. “We continuously look for great opportunities like this to obtain contracts to leverage our skills and add more jobs.”

“WPS welcomes the opportunity to work with TriWest in serving veterans as they obtain medical care through this important program,” said WPS Executive Vice President Brian Brugger. “We’re eager to add staff to accomplish this mission for the VA. This project complements other vital work we do to serve veterans through government contracts.”

About PC3

Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) is a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) nationwide program that offers health care contracts to provide eligible veterans access to primary care; inpatient specialty care; outpatient specialty care; mental health care; limited emergency care; and limited newborn care for enrolled female veterans following the birth of a child.

Under PC3, VHA contracts to develop a network of providers who deliver the covered care. Care is available through PC3 when the local VA Medical Center cannot readily provide the needed care to veterans due to lack of available specialists, long wait times, geographic inaccessibility, or other factors.


Garrett Thomas saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

10/20/2014

Special program recognizes active-duty military personnel

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to U.S. Navy Officer Garrett Thomas during Sunday’s Packers-Panthers game for “Operation Fan Mail.”

Thomas, originally from Madison, completed his ROTC training through the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned his commission as an active-duty naval officer in May 2011.

He has completed two overseas deployments, one of which was a seven-month deployment off the coast of Somalia, conducting counter-piracy operations in the 5th Fleet Area of Operations. Most recently, in 2014, he completed a 7 1/2-month deployment in the 7th Fleet Area of Operations that consisted of assisting in the search for missing Malaysian Flight MH370 and conducting military exercises with Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Thomas now serves as the anti-submarine warfare officer, overseeing 15 sailors to monitor sonar and weapons systems, as well as the ship’s tactical maneuvering. He also serves as command legal officer and advises over 300 sailors on both civilian and military legal concerns. Stationed in San Diego, Thomas returned from his most recent deployment just in time for the beginning of football season. An avid Packers fan, Thomas attended Sunday’s game with his wife Michelle, with whom he recently celebrated his one-year wedding anniversary, and their friends Kyle and Autumn DeMus.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2014 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 72 families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Starion Financial signs agreement to purchase WPS Community Bank

10/15/2014

Bank customers to get added convenience

Starion Financial, headquartered in Bismarck, N.D., with community banks in Middleton and Sun Prairie, Wis., has signed a definitive agreement to purchase WPS Community Bank of Madison, Wis. WPS Community Bank is scheduled to come under the Starion Financial name in the first quarter of 2015 pending regulatory approval.

Craig Larson, Starion president/CEO, said, “The acquisition is a win-win for WPS and Starion Financial.

We are excited to have the opportunity to acquire such a successful, well-run community bank. Starion has been looking at community banks in the Madison market to expand our presence and increase our commitment to the community. We are proud to have served our Madison customers since 2006 and look forward to a great future serving WPS Bank customers.”

WPS’s decision to sell the bank comes at a time when the bank is a highly valued asset and the market is good for purchases and sales of banks. The divesture of the bank allows WPS to continue to invest in growing and innovating in our core business, and gives the bank the opportunity it deserves to grow and succeed.

“WPS Community Bank is a financially sound, healthy organization, making it an attractive expansion opportunity for Starion,” said Mike Hamerlik, President and CEO of WPS Health Insurance. “A major deciding factor in the selection was that the Starion culture is a perfect fit with our bank and its customers. WPS Bank will enjoy even more opportunities to thrive under Starion’s wing.”

Starion Financial will provide WPS Community Bank customers additional convenient branches in Middleton and Sun Prairie, sophisticated products and services, and higher lending limits that will allow for major financing projects to be kept local.

The purchase will require approval by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions. The transaction is expected to be final in the first quarter of 2015.

In 1969, the Larson family purchased First National Bank of Oakes (N.D.), chartered in 1886. The family-owned community bank experienced strong growth before expanding to Madison in 2006 and Sun Prairie in 2013. In the past six years, Starion doubled its assets and has grown into a $1 billion “supercommunity” bank, with 14 locations in nine cities and serving thousands of customers throughout Wisconsin and North Dakota. The bank has built its reputation on integrity, personalized service, local decision-making and community involvement.

Founded in January 2009, WPS Community Bank has built $100 million in total assets with one location providing personalized banking services to individuals and small to mid-size businesses in Dane County, Wis. The bank recently was named for the eighth straight quarter as a Five-Star Superior Institution by BauerFinancial, Inc., an independent bank rating agency. The bank is a subsidiary of Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation (WPS). WPS, the parent company of WPS Community Bank, is a nationally regarded government contractor and Wisconsin’s leading not-for-profit health insurer. Oak Ridge Financial acted as exclusive financial adviser to WPS Insurance Corporation.


WPS MedicareRx plans win 5-star rating

10/13/2014

These are the highest-rated Part D plans in Wisconsin

The WPS MedicareRx prescription drug plans are the highest-rated Part D plans in Wisconsin, and the only plans in the state to earn 5 stars out of 5, according to the 2015 ratings recently announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The ratings take into consideration such factors as:

  • Customer service
  • Member complaints and Medicare audit findings
  • Member experience with drug plan
  • Drug pricing and patient safety

WPS is the leading not-for-profit Medicare Part D plan provider in Wisconsin, serving more than 24,000 enrollees, according to CMS data from March 2014.

The new 5-star rating means people can switch to the WPS MedicareRx plans any time during the year, not just during the annual enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

“The 5-star rating is a testament to WPS’ commitment to quality and customer service,” said Jim Baird, Vice President, Individual Sales. “Though quite difficult to achieve, it is a great honor to be recognized as the only company offering 5-star Part D prescription drug plans in Wisconsin.”

Information for the ratings comes from member surveys, reviews of billing, and other information that plans submit to Medicare, and from Medicare's regular monitoring activities. Part D plans help cover the cost of prescription medications for Medicare enrollees.

CMS rates health and drug plans annually to ensure they meet Medicare's quality standards, and encourages Medicare beneficiaries to compare and choose plans based on these ratings.

For more information on the Part D plan ratings, go to www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan.


Terry Mercier saluted for Operation Fan Mail

10/03/2014

Special program recognizes active-duty military personnel

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to U.S. Army Capt. Terry Mercier from Powers, Michigan, during Thursday’s Packers-Vikings game for Operation Fan Mail.

Mercier entered into military service in June of 1996 and was assigned as a mechanized infantry team leader at his first duty station in Schweinfurt, Germany. He was then deployed in support of a NATO peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. After exiting service in 2000 and meeting his wife, Nycole, he re-entered military service in 2005 as an Army sergeant. He was commissioned as an active-duty medical service corps officer in 2008 and worked as a medical platoon leader and executive officer at Fort Carson, Colorado. During his time as commissioned officer, Mercier conducted two deployments to Iraq.

Over his 16-year military career, Mercier has received numerous awards for leadership and valor, including a Meritorious Service Medal and an Army Good Conduct Medal.

A devoted Packers fan, Mercier also established a satellite connection on base during his last tour overseas that allowed him and his fellow soldiers to watch NFL games. Mercier is now completing his administrative residency at the Martin Army Community Hospital in Fort Benning in Georgia and is an active-duty medical service corps officer.

Mercier and Nycole have three daughters, Alyssa, Aryanna and Gianna. Mercier attended the game on Thursday with Nycole, Alyssa and his mother, Joni.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2014 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 72 families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Jon Williams saluted for Operation Fan Mail

09/14/2014

Special program recognizes active-duty military personnel

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Williams during Sunday’s Packers-Jets game for Operation Fan Mail.

Williams, from Franklin, Indiana, has been a lifelong Packers fan and since joining the Army, he has lived with his family in South Carolina, Hawaii, Arizona, Colorado and Indiana. As of September, he has been on active duty for a total of 14 years.

During his time on active duty, he has been deployed twice on year-long deployments to Afghanistan. He has also served as a drill sergeant and noncommissioned officer academy instructor. Williams is currently the noncommissioned officer in charge of the S2 shop, as well as an Army motorcycle safety instructor.

Williams attended the game with his wife, Cynthia, with whom he just celebrated 14 years of marriage, and their two daughters, Hannah and Kialey.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2014 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 72 families have been recognized through the program thus far.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS. Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.


Packers, WPS Health Insurance present 'Operation Fan Mail' for 2014

08/07/2014

Program recognizes military families on Lambeau Field in pregame

Operation Fan Mail, the program that recognizes military families at each Packers home game, will mark its eighth season in 2014, and the sixth year it has been presented by WPS Health Insurance.

The program, which debuted in 2007, is designed to honor families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2014 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 65 families have been saluted during the past six seasons.

“We are honored to have the privilege of recognizing military families for an eighth year,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “These brave men and women, along with their families, make countless sacrifices for our freedom, and we’re happy to welcome them to Lambeau Field and salute them with our fans.”

“Operation Fan Mail brings much-deserved recognition for our military families, and we are proud to partner with the Green Bay Packers in sponsoring this outstanding program,” said Ellen Foley, senior vice president of corporate communications at WPS Health Insurance. “It’s wonderful to see the selected military personnel honored on the field before the games. And it’s very powerful to read the stories of these dedicated men and women, including the sacrifices they have made for our freedom, and the support they have received from their families,” she said.

The Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular family should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Submit online at: http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/

Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling. Purple Heart recipients are also eligible for recognition, even if they cannot return to active service status.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families will receive four tickets to the game and a $150 Packers Pro Shop gift card courtesy of WPS.


WPS selects Kerra Guffey as chief information officer

08/06/2014

She has diverse experience in information technology management and the health care industry

Kerra Guffey has joined WPS as chief information officer. Her career in technology and the health care industry spans more than 25 years.

Before coming to WPS, she was chief information officer for Meriter Health Services in Madison from July 2007 until November 2013, when she was named chief operating officer of Physicians Plus Insurance Corporation, which was owned by Meriter at the time.

She came to Meriter from Memorial Health System in Springfield, IL, where she was hired as vice president of internal audit and compliance and later was promoted to senior vice president and chief information officer in September 2003.

Earlier in her career, Kerra was an IT consultant and internal audit manager with Deloitte & Touche Enterprise Risk Services group in Costa Mesa, CA. Her clients included several large insurance companies, health maintenance organizations and health care systems.

Previously, she had roles in finance, accounting, and network development for Sparrow Physicians Health Network, Sparrow Health System, and United Healthcare for Physicians Health Plan, in Lansing, Michigan. She also worked as a certified public accountant in Illinois, providing external audit services to health care, manufacturing, and nonprofit clients.

A graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Kerra earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of California in Irvine with concentrations in IT management and finance. She also earned a certificate in biomedical informatics at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR.

She has been active in many organizations, including the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS), College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). She is a past Board Chair for the Wisconsin Epic User Group (WIEUG). She has been an Advisory Board member for the CIO Fusion and Digital Healthcare Conferences held annually in Madison.


Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies challenged in courts

07/23/2014

On July 22, two conflicting federal court decisions were made regarding the legality of federal subsidies for low- and middle-income people who bought health insurance through the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM), or Exchange, in certain states, including Wisconsin.

WPS Health Insurance customers are not affected by these rulings as WPS health plans were not sold on the Marketplace. Therefore, WPS customers do not need to worry about their current policies or coverage.

Court cases

In the first case (Halbig v. Burwell), a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled, 2-1, that the Affordable Care Act allows subsidies only for insurance purchases made through state-run Exchanges, not the federal Exchange.

In the second case (King v. Burwell), a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously ruled in favor of the government on the same issue, thus upholding the subsidies.

Questions?

WPS Health Insurance remains focused on ensuring stability, affordability, and accessibility for its customers and is committed to customer care.

WPS members who have questions or concerns may call WPS Customer Service using the number on the back of their member ID card.


WPS wins important contract renewal

07/18/2014

WPS has received an important contract renewal from the federal government to continue administering military health insurance benefits.

Formally known as the TRICARE Dual Eligible Fiscal Intermediary Contract (TDEFIC), it serves beneficiaries who are eligible for the TRICARE For Life program. The current WPS contract for this program ran through June 30, 2014.

Under the new contract, WPS will administer TRICARE For Life for the next six years. This means WPS will be able to retain many employees who work on the TRICARE business.

“This is a major success story for WPS,” said Brian Brugger, executive vice president of the WPS TRICARE Division. “TRICARE is an important part of our business at WPS, and we worked very hard to retain this contract. The quality of our workforce was a key reason that the government wants WPS to continue as a major contractor for TRICARE.”

President and CEO Mike Hamerlik said winning this contract will help secure the future of WPS.

“We are keenly focused on finding innovative ways to adapt to a changing insurance environment,” he said. “At WPS, we have been making significant investments in new technology and processes to meet the needs of our customers, including the federal government. We have visionary plans to move forward as a company, and winning this contract proves we’re on the right track. We will continue to seek new government contracts when there’s a good match with our capabilities,” he said.

"Our TRICARE employees deserve a round of applause from all of us for prevailing in this increasingly competitive business. WPS plans to be a partner with TDEFIC for a long time,” Hamerlik said.

Other companies that were vying for the contract might protest the award, but Brugger said WPS is confident that the award will be affirmed.

Although the rebidding competition officially started in April 2013, WPS has been preparing since it received the current contract in 2007, Brugger said.

“We have strengthened the relationship with the Defense Health Agency (which manages TRICARE contracts on behalf of the Department of Defense) to understand their needs. We committed ourselves to ensuring those eligible for the TRICARE For Life benefit receive the highest level of service because they have sacrificed so much while serving our country,” he said.

“We also started working on our story for the next bid by making sure our performance exceeded DHA’s expectations. In addition to competitive pricing and focusing on exceeding our customer’s expectations, our past performance became the basis of our proposal to differentiate us from competitors. Without the hard work of our employees, we wouldn’t have such a good story to tell,” Brugger said.


WPS Charitable Foundation issues scholarships for 2014

06/30/2014

10 students to receive $1,250 for higher education

WPS announces the recipients of the WPS Charitable Foundation scholarships for 2014. The following 10 students will receive a one-year Ray Koenig Memorial Scholarship (valued at $1,250 each), which is named in honor of the first president of WPS. The selected applicants are:

  • John Bauer, son of Robert Bauer (Madison-IT Security), graduated from Poynette High School (Poynette, WI) and will be attending the University of Wisc
  • Cori Bergantzel, daughter of Sandy Bergantzel (Omaha-Medicare), graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School (Council Bluffs, IA) and will be attending Iowa Western Community College.
  • Micaela Calabrese, daughter of Rachel Calabrese (Madison-Accounting), graduated in 2013 and is attending the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
  • Ariel Crego, daughter of Dian Blackbourn-Crego (Madison-Medicare), graduated from Belmont High School (Belmont, WI) and will be attending Coe College.
  • Boman Groff, son of Susan Groff (Omaha-Medicare), graduated from Central High School (Omaha, NE) and will be attending the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
  • Britany Hale, daughter of Marcy Morefield (Marion-Medicare), graduated from Benton Consolidated High School (Benton, IL) and will be attending Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
  • Hannah Johnson, daughter of Michelle Johnson (Madison-Health Insurance), graduated from East High School (Madison, WI) and will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
  • Courtney Lawlor, daughter of Timothy Lawlor (Madison-IT), graduated in 2013 and is attending the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, MN.
  • Kelsey Runge, daughter of Heather Runge (De Pere-Sales), graduated from Kimberly High School (Kimberly, WI) and will be attending the University of Alabama.
  • Troy Showers, son of Sherri Showers (Madison-Actuarial), graduated in 2013 and is attending the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Sixty children of employees of WPS and its subsidiaries qualified this year. Characteristics of the applicants include:

Gender: 41 females; 19 males

Location:

  • Wisconsin: 37 – Madison; 3 – Green Bay/De Pere; 2 - Wausau
  • Illinois: 4 – Marion
  • Nebraska: 10 – Omaha
  • Florida: 1 – Clearwater

Parent works in: 20 – Medicare; 11– TRICARE; 8 – Health Insurance Operations; 6 – Information Systems; 3 – Sales; 2 – Accounting; 2 – Arise Health Plan; 1 - Actuarial; 1 – Corporate Services; 1 – Medical Affairs; 1 – Provider Relations


WPS Health Insurance teams up with Green Bay Packers for 1K Kids Run

06/04/2014

July 25 event in Green Bay is part of the festivities for 2014 training camp

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance are proud to present the second annual WPS 1K Kids Run on July 25 to help kick off the 2014 football training camp in Green Bay. WPS is a “Proud Partner of the Green Bay Packers,” and one of its subsidiaries, Arise Health Plan, is based in Green Bay.

Children ages 10 and under will run a lap inside historic Lambeau Field and finish on a replica turf in the parking lot. The event starts at 6 p.m. Friday, July 25, with packet pick-up from 3 to 5:30 p.m. in the atrium.

The evening concludes with Packers Movie Night inside the stadium at 7 p.m. A family-friendly movie will be shown on the TundraVision screen. Admission is free for the movie.

Staging for the Kids Run will be outside the Oneida Nation gate in the southeast corner of the Lambeau Field parking lot. There will be four waves of runners:

  • 10-year-olds: 6:00 p.m.
  • Ages 8-9: 6:10 p.m.
  • Ages 6-7: 6:20 p.m.
  • Ages 5 and under: 6:30 p.m. (A parent or guardian must accompany children 5 years and under.)

The registration fee of $10 includes a Packers Kids Run T-shirt, logo bag, and participant medal.

Here are the registration options: Online: http://nfl.packers.com/fan_zone/events/5k/register-kids/ (Online registration closes July 22.)

Walk-up: 3 to 5:30 p.m. day of the event in the Lambeau Field Atrium

By mail: Download the registration form at: http://nfl.packers.com/fan_zone/events/5k/kids-run-info/kidsregistration2014.pdf
Send the completed form and a check made payable to:
Green Bay Packers 5K Run/Walk
PO Box 10628
Green Bay, WI 54307-0628

More information is available at: http://nfl.packers.com/fan_zone/events/5k/kids-run-info/


Milwaukee student entrepreneurs win state contest co-sponsored by WPS

04/28/2014

WPS was among the sponsors for the inaugural Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament for University of Wisconsin student entrepreneurs.

A team from UW-Milwaukee placed first among 10 competing April 5 in Madison. The team advances to the 40-team field at the International Business Model Competition in Provo, Utah, May 1-3.

The team is comprised of two Air National Guard members, Tom Burden and Janie Asberry, and Air Force veteran Shawn Petros. They are developing non-corrosive mats on which aerospace mechanics can stand or place tools. Their company, Grypshon, is planning to sell products to the military.

The Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament was organized by the University of Wisconsin-Extension. Besides WPS, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and American Family Insurance helped sponsor the event. A matching grant was provided by the UW System.

“This inaugural program set the framework for growth and expansion of Lean Startup training and idea development for students within the UW System,” said Mark Lange, executive director of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development for UW-Extension.

Grypshon also qualifies for the first round of the Ideadvance seed fund administered by UW-Extension and funded by the UW System and WEDC. Depending on the business milestones attained, the team could earn up to $25,000 to advance its product.

The Wisconsin runner-up was Long-term Health Solutions, comprised of Spencer Beard and Bradley Price of UW-Eau Clare. They are targeting aging populations for specialized home remodeling and installation of health care technology.

Third-place finisher Atlas Investments – comprised of Parker Lenz, Joseph Neff, and Eric Sajdak of UW Oshkosh – pitched innovative investment products for financial brokers.

All three top finishers earned an interview with gener8tor, one of the Midwest ’s leading startup accelerators.

The “People’s Choice Winner” – based on number of Twitter votes – was Billboard Brew founded by Cory DeRuiter of UW-Oshkosh to provide advertising for cup-related businesses.


Brett Davis joins WPS Health Insurance

04/09/2014

Former Medicaid director becomes Vice President of Provider Relations

WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer, announces the hiring of Brett Davis as the new Vice President of Provider Relations.

Davis previously was division administrator in charge of Medicaid for the state of Wisconsin, in the Department of Health Services. He oversaw a budget of $8 billion serving 1.1 million Wisconsin residents, and managed hundreds of employees.

“I am looking forward to leveraging Brett’s deep relationships and experience with providers around the state, and for innovative ways to structure and negotiate arrangements with our partners that will improve health care value and enhance insurance coverage in Wisconsin,” said Scott Kowalski, Executive Vice President of WPS Health Insurance.

“Brett has a high degree of comfort with the corporate budgeting process, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and navigating through government regulations,” Kowalski said.

Davis was a member of the state Assembly from 2005 to 2011. He worked as a tax and revenue policy analyst for Gov. Tommy G. Thompson before becoming special assistant to the Secretary under Secretary Thompson at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Davis also served as chief of staff to state Sen. Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan, prior to serving in the state Legislature.

He has a degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.


WPS chosen as one of World’s Most Ethical Companies

03/20/2014

It’s the fifth consecutive year that WPS has received this distinction

WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and a large government contractor for the federal Medicare and TRICARE programs, announced today that it has once again been recognized by the Ethisphere® Institute as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for 2014.

This is the fifth time that WPS has been honored with this award, which recognizes organizations that continue to raise the bar on ethical leadership and corporate behavior.

A total of 143 companies made the list this year, and WPS is the only health insurance company in the world to receive this recognition five times.

“WPS prides itself on always having high ethical standards,” said WPS Vice President of Internal Audit, Compliance and Risk Jane Keller-Allen. “We believe our employees, customers, government officials, partners, and our communities respect and trust us to always do the right thing. I am proud that we have received this award for five years in a row,” she said.

“WPS joins an exclusive community committed to driving performance through leading business practices. We congratulate everyone at WPS for this extraordinary achievement,” said Ethisphere Chief Executive Officer Timothy Erblich.

The World's Most Ethical Company assessment is based upon the Ethisphere Institute’s Ethics Quotient™ framework, which assesses performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way. The collected information provides a comprehensive sampling of criteria of core competencies.

Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (25%); reputation, leadership and innovation (20%); governance (10%); corporate citizenship and responsibility (25%); and culture of ethics (20%).

The full list of the 2014 World's Most Ethical Companies can be found at http://ethisphere.com/worlds-most-ethical/wme-honorees/.


Retiring Middleton police chief to join WPS

03/06/2014

Brad Keil will become manager of corporate facilities security

Middleton Police Chief Brad Keil has been appointed manager of corporate facilities security at WPS, effective March 31.

On March 28, he will retire from the Middleton Police Department, where he has been chief since 2004. Before that, he was chief of police in Monona from 1999 to 2004.

“I’m very much looking forward to bringing Chief Brad Keil on board to support and enhance our ongoing security initiative,” said Mark Jensen, vice president, Business Services. “As former chief of police for the city of Monona, his familiarity with the community and the local Business Watch program will be a tremendous asset.”

Keil also has worked for the West Bend Police Department and Northrop Corporation, and he was a military police officer with the U.S. Army.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice/social welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a master’s in public administration from UW-Oshkosh. Keil is a graduate of an executive development course at the FBI National Academy.

As chief of police, he guided two municipal police departments through the development and implementation of strategic plans. He also took on the role of project manager for the new Middleton police and court facility, which included a state-of-the-art access control and video surveillance system.


WPS selects Keith Williams to lead Human Resources

01/14/2014

Executive has broad experience in financial services and software industries

Keith Williams has been named senior vice president of human resources at WPS, effective February 3. The announcement was made today by Chief Administrative and Risk Officer Craig Campbell.

“We are excited to have Keith join WPS,” Campbell said. “As a true HR professional, Keith brings positive change through best-in-class practices. Those practices are needed to remain competitive in the ‘speed-of-light’ changing health care financing environment in which we live.”

Williams currently is director of human resources for the Stevens Point Area Public School District in central Wisconsin. He joined the school district following a broad HR career within the financial services and software industries.

He previously was senior vice president of human resources for Wausau Financial Systems, an electronic payment processing company. He held the same position for the CUNA Mutual Insurance Society, a financial services company serving credit unions, headquartered in Madison. He previously worked as vice president of reengineering at CUNA Mutual.

Earlier in his career, Williams was vice president of human resources for Century Companies of America, a financial company providing life, disability, and asset accumulation products, headquartered in Waverly, Iowa.

He has an MBA from the University of Northern Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in management and psychology from Luther College.

He is a frequent adjunct instructor for Cardinal Stritch University and Concordia University Wisconsin. He holds the SPHR and FLMI designations.


Eric Eberle saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

01/06/2014

Recognition program honors active-duty military personnel

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to U.S. Navy Deep Sea Master Diver Eric Eberle, of Racine, Wis., during Sunday’s Packers-49ers playoff game for Operation Fan Mail.

Eberle recently completed his second eight-month deployment to Africa and Europe. His team is responsible for several missions, including the recovery efforts of a Missing in Action service member from World War II in the Mediterranean Sea, the salvage and recovery of two F-16 Fighting Falcons in the North Adriatic Sea, and the recovery of the Civil War Ironclad CSS Georgia in Savannah, Ga.

After 16 years of service, he was selected as one of only 90 active-duty Master Divers in the Navy.

Eberle graduated from Case High School, in Racine, Wis., and received a swimming scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, which he attended for two years. After UW-Green Bay, he joined the Navy, and was hand-selected to attend the Navy’s premier dive program, which he successfully graduated from in 1999. Since then, he has been stationed in Connecticut, Italy, Florida and, most recently, Virginia.

He attended the game with his wife, Heather, father, Phil, and daughter, Zoe.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2013 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 65 families have been recognized with through the program.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS.

2013


Zachary Rhyner saluted for Operation Fan Mail

12/22/2013

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to U.S. Air Force Tech Sergeant Zachary Rhyner, of Medford, Wis., during Sunday’s Packers-Steelers game for Operation Fan Mail.

Rhyner is a combat controller in the Air Force and is responsible for coordinating air strikes and other air-to-ground assets for special operations forces teams. He is stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and has been deployed six times, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as a humanitarian assistance operation in Haiti.

In addition to two Purple Heart awards and a Bronze Star, Rhyner received the Air Force Cross for his actions in the Battle of Shok Valley during the War in Afghanistan. He was the first living, and second ever, combat controller to receive the Air Force Cross, which is second only to the Medal of Honor for heroism in combat. He was injured in his most recent deployment, suffering nerve damage and shattering his hip, and is currently recovering.

Rhyner attended the game with his mother, Sue, his father, Paul, and his brother, Luke.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2013 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 64 families have been recognized through the program.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail.

Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS.


WPS Alternative Choice plan gives Wisconsin residents more options

12/19/2013

New health insurance plan offers coverage ranging from 30 to 364 days

WPS is launching a new short-term health insurance plan called WPS Alternative Choice, which is tailored for individuals and families in transition or those waiting to see how health care reform works out. Coverage is available starting Jan. 1.

This policy, which has been approved by the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, may not satisfy the individual mandate requirement under the health reform law. However, it does offer comprehensive medical and hospital benefits to provide a low-cost alternative for interim insurance.

The plan is designed for people who are:

  • Looking for an alternative to health care reform plans.
  • Recent college graduates.
  • Part-time or temporary employees.
  • Between jobs and looking for an affordable alternative to COBRA.
  • Newly employed and waiting for health benefits to begin.
  • Recently retired and waiting for Medicare eligibility.

“Alternative Choice is a great, lower-cost plan for people with short-term gaps in coverage or those who want to take additional time to assess their options under the health care reform law,” said Jim Baird, vice president of individual sales.

WPS Alternative Choice offers coverage period options of 30 to 364 days, or two back-to-back six-month policies. (Members choosing back-to-back policies will avoid additional underwriting, and the pre-existing condition exclusion on the second six-month policy will not include any newly diagnosed conditions, symptoms, or treatment incurred during the first six-month policy. Back-to-back six-month policies must have a Jan. 1 effective date.)

WPS Alternative Choice replaces the WPS Instant Protection Plan and is only available for Wisconsin residents.


Nicholas Popowski saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

12/09/2013

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to U.S. Navy Boatswain Mate Nicholas Popowski of Columbus, Wis. during Sunday's Packers-Falcons game for Operation Fan Mail.

Popowski, a lifelong Packers fan, has been serving in the Navy for 12 years as a boatswain mate (BM2), which is the oldest job in the Navy. As a BM2, Popowski mans the lookouts, responds to man overboard alarms, resupplies the ship with food, refuels and performs any other necessary tasks, including training new sailors assigned to the ship.

Popowski has been assigned to the USS McFaul (destroyer), NCHB -1 Navy cargo handling battalion, USS Enterprise (aircraft carrier) and the USS Carl Vinson (aircraft carrier) throughout his career, and has traveled to every continent in the world. When Popowski was attached to the NCHB-1, he traveled to Antarctica for Operation Deep Freeze as well as traveling on humanitarian trips to Senegal and Thailand. He also served eight months in Iraq with the battalion.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2013 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 63 families have been recognized through the program.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS.


Christopher Cassidy saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

11/25/2013

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to Navy SEAL and NASA Astronaut Christopher Cassidy of York, Maine, during Sunday’s Packers-Vikings game for 'Operation Fan Mail.'

Cassidy, an avid Packers fan, attended York High School in Maine and Naval Academy Prep School in Rhode Island. From there, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1993, and his M.S. in ocean engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000.

His experience includes 10 years as a member of the U.S. Navy SEAL Teams, with specialized tactics including long-range special reconnaissance (vehicular and foot patrols); direct action building assaults; noncompliant ship-boardings; desert reconnaissance patrols; combat diving; underwater explosives; and a variety of air operations, including parachuting, fast roping, and rappelling.

Cassidy made four six-month deployments: two to Afghanistan, and two to the Mediterranean. He served as executive officer and operations, officer of Special Boat Team Twenty in Norfolk, Va., and SEAL Platoon Commander at SEAL Team THREE in Coronado, Calif. He deployed to the Afghanistan region two weeks after the Sept. 11 tragedy, and served as ground assault force commander for international and U.S.-only combat missions in Afghanistan, and led two months of noncompliant ship-boardings in the Northern Arabian Gulf.

Cassidy was selected by NASA in May 2004. In February 2006, he completed Astronaut Candidate Training, which included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training, T-38 flight training, and water and wilderness survival training. Completion of the initial training qualified him for various technical assignments within the Astronaut Office and future flight assignment as a mission specialist. From 2006 to 2008, he served as Capsule Commander (CAPCOM) in Mission Control. During his NASA career, Cassidy completed six spacewalks, totaling 31 hours, 14 minutes and accumulated 182 days in space.

He has been awarded the Bronze Star with combat 'V' and Presidential Unit Citation for leading a nine-day operation at the Zharwar Kili cave complex – a national priority objective directly on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. Cassidy received a second Bronze Star for combat leadership service in Afghanistan in 2004. He is also a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal.

He and his wife, Julie, are the proud parents of three children.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2013 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 62 families have been recognized with through the program.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/.

Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS.


James Lenzendorf Saluted Sunday for Operation Fan Mail

11/11/2013

The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to Wisconsin Air National Guard Lt. Col. James Lenzendorf, of Prairie du Chien, Wis., during Sunday’s Packers-Eagles game for ‘Operation Fan Mail.’

Currently, Lenzendorf serves as the director of operations for the Air Command Alert squadron of the 115th Fighter Wing, as part of the Homeland Defense Mission. He works 24-hour shifts in addition to his multiple flying duties to protect the air from any threats.

Throughout his career, Lenzendorf has been deployed multiple times to Iraq and Saudi Arabia, where he has flown combat missions in support of Operation Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Lenzendorf will retire in 2016.

Lenzendorf attended the game with his wife, Leah, and his two sons, Jared and Garett.

Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2013 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 61 families have been recognized with through the program.

To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at http://nfl.packers.com/gameday/gameday_promotions/operation_fan_mail/

Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.

In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS.


Arise Health Plan, WPS offer health care reform seminars

11/07/2013

Arise Health Plan and WPS are hosting 16 free seminars in Wisconsin to inform residents about health care reform and help them determine whether they qualify for an insurance subsidy from the government.

The 90-minute seminars – titled “Health Care Reform and the Impact to Consumers” – will take place in seven communities between Nov. 12 and Dec. 12. Seating is limited at each location, and advance registration is necessary.

“Our goal is for the seminars to provide consumers with the information they need most to make the right decisions about their health insurance coverage,” said Jim Baird, WPS vice president of Individual Sales. “Many people don't fully understand the important issues that can impact them directly, such as whether they will be eligible for financial help to pay premiums, what the penalties are for going without insurance, and what their range of options is. We can help them with answers that are specific to their situation.”

The program will include information on:

  • Key points about health care reform and the Affordable Care Act.
  • Who must purchase health insurance.
  • What must be covered.
  • Various benefit levels.
  • Who qualifies for a cost-sharing subsidy.
  • The penalty for not purchasing health coverage.
  • Options offered by WPS and Arise Health Plan, which is a subsidiary of WPS.
To register, call 800-236-1448, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

Each seminar will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Here is the schedule:

  • Nov. 12 – Westwood Conference Center, 1800 Westwood Center Blvd., Wausau.
  • Nov. 13 – Marriott, 7111 W. Washington Ave., Racine.
  • Nov. 14 – Hotel Mead, 451 E. Grand Ave., Wisconsin Rapids.
  • Nov. 18 – Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 2040 Airport Drive, Green Bay.
  • Nov. 19 – AmericInn, 3300 E. Main St., Merrill.
  • Nov. 20 – Country Inn & Suites, 7011 122nd Ave., Kenosha.
  • Nov. 20 – Westwood Conference Center, 1800 Westwood Center Blvd., Wausau.
  • Nov. 21 – Holiday Inn Express, 2407 Neva Road, Hwy. 45, Antigo.
  • Dec. 4 – Westwood Conference Center, 1800 Westwood Center Blvd., Wausau.
  • Dec. 5 – Hotel Mead, 451 E. Grand Ave., Wisconsin Rapids.
  • Dec. 6 – Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 2040 Airport Drive, Green Bay.
  • Dec. 9 – AmericInn, 3300 E. Main St, Merrill.
  • Dec. 10 – Marriott, 7111 W. Washington Ave., Racine.
  • Dec. 11 – Holiday Inn Express, 2407 Neva Road, Hwy. 45, Antigo.
  • Dec. 12 – Country Inn & Suites, 7011 122nd Ave., Kenosha.
  • Dec. 12 – Aspirus Wausau Hospital, 333 Pine Ridge Road, Wausau.

  • WPS emphasizes community involvement by supporting health-related and military causes

    10/03/2013

    Corporate Giving Guidelines tell how funding and sponsorship requests are evaluated

    At WPS, doing what’s right means helping Wisconsin residents protect what we all value: our health, financial security, and peace of mind.

    WPS is committed to taking an active role in promoting the health and well-being of the communities our customers and employees call home. Through sponsorships, cash donations, in-kind donations and volunteerism, WPS – and its wholly owned subsidiaries of Arise Health Plan, EPIC Life Insurance and WPS Community Bank – supports initiatives focused on enhancing the health of the communities we serve across Wisconsin. Our key areas of focus for corporate giving include health issues, specifically women’s and children’s health in Wisconsin, and support of our military and veterans.

    WPS recently updated its < a href="http://www.wpshealthsolutions.com/about/community-support/cs-guidlines-submission.shtml" target="_blank">Corporate Giving Guidelines (available on the WPS website), with details on how the company evaluates funding and sponsorship requests. Submission timelines, other requirements, and an application form also are included.

    Responsibility for managing the WPS corporate giving program rests with Jeanne Wittig, director of community relations.

    With a background in marketing and a lifelong devotion to Green Bay, Wittig manages corporate relationships with local nonprofit organizations across Wisconsin. She evaluates more than 30 solicitations per month for community giving and sponsorships.

    Wittig works with Ellen Foley, vice president of corporate communications, and Tami Gilbertson, director of corporate events, who have deep relationships in the south central and southeastern regions.

    “Jeanne’s insights into many locations where we work have helped us expand our giving across many regions of Wisconsin and our other states,” Foley said.

    Wittig also works with Christine Russell, vice president of government relations, to leverage the WPS public affairs investment across business and government relations channels.

    Community relations enhances WPS’ image by developing and promoting programs that demonstrate the company’s commitment to its corporate citizenship mission, while engaging employees in meaningful volunteer service.

    A native of Green Bay, Wittig has an undergraduate degree in marketing with a minor in fine art design, and an MBA in health care management. She has 20 years of health care marketing experience. She works out of the De Pere office and can be reached at (920) 617-6318 or Jeanne.Wittig@wpsic.com.


    Frequently Asked Questions about the new Marketplace

    10/02/2013

    Affordable Care Act begins a new chapter

    What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

    The Marketplace is a new way to find health insurance as part of the Affordable Care Act. It’s designed for people who are uninsured or for those who currently buy individual policies. Private insurance plans still will be available without going through the Marketplace.

    How does the Marketplace work?

    The Marketplace plans are based on where you live, your family size, the type of plan you select, your age and whether you smoke. You’ll be able to compare plans based on price, benefits, and other features. Plans are presented in four categories – bronze, silver, gold, and platinum – to make comparing them easier.

    What are the key dates?

    Open enrollment starts October 1, 2013, for coverage that begins as soon as January 1, 2014. Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014.

    How do I apply?

    If you live in Wisconsin, go to HealthCare.gov to apply for coverage, compare plans, and enroll.

    Is there financial assistance through the Marketplace?

    Some people will qualify for subsidies, or tax credits, to help pay the premiums. There also are cost-sharing subsidies to reduce deductibles and copayments. It all depends on your income.

    What if I already have health insurance?

    If you have insurance through your employer, Medicare or Medicaid, it’s likely you won’t need to shop for coverage on the new Marketplace.

    Is WPS on the Marketplace?

    WPS leaders took a controlled approach with a regional Marketplace offering through Arise Health Plan, a wholly owned subsidiary of WPS. Arise will offer both on- and off-Marketplace individual and small group plans. WPS won’t be on the Marketplace for 2014, but it still will offer individual and small group plans, and a short-term plan.

    Where is Arise Health Plan offered?

    Arise is a new arrival to Milwaukee County and southeastern Wisconsin, where it will provide a fresh option for customers shopping on the Marketplace. Besides Milwaukee County, Arise also will provide Marketplace insurance in these other counties: Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Langlade, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Shawano, Sheboygan, Taylor, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Winnebago, and Wood.


    Arise Health Plan will serve 26 counties through the Health Insurance Marketplace

    09/19/2013

    Enrollment in the Marketplace begins Oct. 1

    Arise Health Plan will be offering insurance plans in 26 Wisconsin counties when Wisconsin’s Health Insurance Marketplace begins accepting applications Oct. 1.

    On Sept. 19, the Wisconsin Office of Commissioner of Insurance issued a list of the final service areas for insurers participating in the Marketplace. The information wasn’t available until the insurer contracts were finalized with the federal government.

    Green Bay-based Arise Health Plan, which is legally known as WPS Health Plan, Inc., will offer Marketplace plans in both the individual and small employer group markets.

    Arise is a new arrival to Milwaukee County and southeastern Wisconsin, where it will provide a new option to customers shopping on the Marketplace.

    Arise also will provide Marketplace insurance in these other counties: Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Langlade, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Shawano, Sheboygan, Taylor, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Winnebago, and Wood.

    Key provisions of the Affordable Care Act become effective Jan. 1, 2014.

    Arise is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation in Madison. WPS Health Insurance is not participating in the Marketplace in 2014.


    WPS hires chief medical officer

    09/11/2013

    Dr. Phil Colmenares joins WPS’ senior staff on Oct. 14

    WPS, Wisconsin’s leading not-for-profit health insurer and top provider of affordable individual health plans, has added Dr. Phil Colmenares, M.D., M.P.H., to its senior staff. The new chief medical officer begins his duties on Oct. 14.

    “We’re very happy to have Dr. Colmenares on board,” said Scott Kowalski, executive vice president of health insurance. “His experience in evidence-based medicine will help keep WPS on a disciplined path.”

    Dr. Colmenares is originally from Reading, Penn. He received his BA from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., his medical degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, and his masters in Health Policy and Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

    A U.S. Navy veteran, Dr. Colmenares completed his residency at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center before becoming the chief medical and radiation health officer on board the USS California. His military medical career also took him to Rota, Spain, and Sigonella, Italy.

    When he returned to the U.S., he came to Madison and worked in increasing capacities for Dean Clinic before making the switch to health plans. He has worked in the health plan arena for seven years, most recently as the senior medical director for Security Health Plan in Marshfield, WI. He improved processes and worked with regulatory, medical, and other health care organizations on local, regional, and national levels. Dr. Colmenares worked to reduce the per capita costs of health care and helped define care coordination, such as the management of diseases, cases, pharmaceuticals, and medical procedures.

    “Dr. Colmenares is a great addition to our team,” said Dan Edge, vice president of medical affairs and operations. “I look forward to working with him to make WPS even more valuable to our members.”


    WPS TRICARE wins three new subcontracts

    09/06/2013

    Five-year subcontracts continue partnership with TriWest Healthcare Alliance

    WPS, Wisconsin’s leading not-for-profit health insurer and top provider of affordable individual health plans, was awarded three new subcontracts on September 4 to administer benefits for nearly half the eligible veterans in America.

    As a result of these new subcontracts, a small number of new employees will be hired in WPS’ Wausau office to help with the administrative work.

    “This is great news for WPS,” said Brian Brugger, executive vice president of the WPS TRICARE Division. “Our renewed and reinvigorated focus on contracts and business growth is driving this great success.” The subcontracts are for TriWest Healthcare Alliance’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) contracts for the VA Patient-Centered Community Care (VAPC3) program’s Regions 3, 5, and 6. These regions cover all or portions of 28 states, including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia, as well as American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

    Mike Hamerlik, WPS president and CEO, said, “It is a privilege and an honor to take on this work to help care for our veterans. Our relationship with TriWest is important for our company and valued very much. They are a great partner and I look forward to more collaboration in the future.”


    Gilbertson inducted into Hall of Fame

    09/06/2013

    WPS director of events and promotions honored by Wisconsin chapter of Meeting Professionals International

    Tami Gilbertson, director of events and promotions at WPS, has been inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Wisconsin chapter of Meeting Professionals International.

    The ceremony took place Thursday, Sept. 5, at the Wisconsin chapter’s awards gala at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton.

    The Hall of Fame award is given to a member who has had significant impact on the chapter, industry, and community. The recipient is chosen by the board of directors based on involvement in chapter meetings and activities; service on committees and the board; and contributions to the advancement of the meeting industry. Gilbertson is the 17th recipient in the 36-year history of the chapter.

    Gilbertson was chapter president, 2009-2010. She received the President's Award in 2008, was named Meeting Advocate of the Year in 2011, and Planner of the Year in 2010.

    Gilbertson started at WPS in December 1990 and created the WPS event planner career path. She was the first meeting-centric manager, now director, with a focused event specialist staff.

    Currently at WPS, Gilbertson plans meetings and corporate events, helps with speaking engagements for executives, and serves as an advisor to Ellen Foley, vice president of communications.

    Gilbertson earned the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 2005 from the Convention Industry Council.

    She also served as editor of Wisconsin Meetings magazine from 2010-2012.

    MPI is the meeting and event industry’s largest professional organization. There are more than 23,000 members belonging to 71 chapters and clubs worldwide.

    The Wisconsin chapter, established in 1977, has more than 320 members. The chapter brings professionals together to learn best practices, build relationships, and create business opportunities that enhance the strategic value of meetings.


    Experts from Arise Health Plan to present at Affordable Care Act forum

    09/05/2013

    Arise is exclusive health insurance sponsor of Milwaukee event

    Arise Health Plan and other leaders in the health insurance industry will explain the nuances of health care reform Sept. 13 at an event tailored for executives of large and small businesses in Milwaukee.

    Arise, with offices in Milwaukee, De Pere, Madison and Wausau, is reaching out to business leaders who may be confused about the evolving provisions of the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, also called the Exchange, which opens Oct. 1.

    “Arise has partnered with and advised large and small businesses for many years,” said Scott Kowalski, executive vice president of health insurance at WPS and chief operating officer of Arise Health Plan. “We want these valued customers to know that our health care reform experts are available for on-Exchange and off-Exchange solutions to their insurance needs.”

    Other sponsors of the “Understanding Health Care Reform” forum, which starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Milwaukee Marriott Downtown, are Johnson Insurance and Schenck CPAs.

    Representing Arise on the main panel will be Jeff Marquardt, vice president of regional sales. Marquardt also will be among the presenters for the large employer breakout session. Sean Van Ess, manager of marketing and product development for Arise, will help lead the small employer session.

    Marquardt leads the Arise sales team as its top executive with more than 20 years of experience in sales, sales management, product development and provider relations. His knowledge of Wisconsin and business leaders’ concerns in health care issues has been honed through his work building distribution networks throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

    Van Ess will share insights from his experience as Arise’s Exchange product manager for the past year. As Arise’s filing expert for the Exchange, he knows the nuances and pitfalls of enrolling for the Exchange plans.

    Arise, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of WPS, is a qualified health plan in the individual market and in the small employer group market, and is approved to participate in the Exchange.

    Key provisions of the ACA become effective Jan. 1, 2014, including the federal Exchange. Enrollment for the Exchange begins Oct. 1.

    For more on the forum, go to biztimes.com/hcreform.


    WPS Slated to Save $3.9 Million in Innovative Energy Practices by 2020

    08/28/2013

    Making Buildings More Energy Efficient Will Reduce Costs, Improve Comfort.

    WPS, Wisconsin’s leading not-for-profit health insurer and top provider of affordable individual health plans, is updating its buildings to improve energy efficiency and has set an energy target goal for 2020 of an ENERGY STAR® rating of 95, at today’s ratings. The project started several years ago and is already paying off. Company officials expect cumulative savings of about $3.9 million by 2020.

    Since 2007, WPS facilities personnel have been upgrading lighting and retro-commissioning buildings, which has saved WPS thousands of dollars, according to Mark Jensen, vice president of business and office services.

    “Older building lighting systems were not designed for the intense use of PC monitors and the glare problems that often result,” Jensen said. “Upgraded lighting systems take this into account and the result not only saves energy, but is more appropriate for today’s office environment.”

    Other major upgrades, he said, focus on the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems to improve heating and cooling scheduling, temperature setback, and the efficiency of fan and pump motors.

    “Modern direct digital controls allow us to operate equipment only when necessary,” Jensen said. “We’ll be doing a lot of utility monitoring and automatic demand limiting in all of our buildings to make sure our systems are running properly and at appropriate times. Our goal is to create comfortable spaces while also being energy efficient.”

    An in-depth utility rate analysis conducted by H&H Energy Services, Inc. shows a cumulative savings between 2007 and 2012 of $717,500. Each building was also given an ENERGY STAR rating.

    Currently, three of the office buildings on the company’s main Madison campus would qualify for ENERGY STAR certification. The ENERGY STAR rating examines the most recent 12 months of utility costs for a building and compares the building performance against that of other buildings. Because buildings in general become more efficient each year, the rating is continually adjusted.

    The utility rate analysis shows that if the three buildings on the WPS campus can achieve an ENERGY STAR rating of 95 (at today’s rating) in 2020, it would mean a projected savings that year of $553,000 and a cumulative savings during the years up to and including 2020 of about $3.9 million. A rating of 95 means the building is performing in the top 5% of buildings nationally. Because the ratings adjust each year, the actual rating in 2020 may be closer to 90.


    WPS Hires Strategy & Business Development Executive

    08/26/2013

    John Stephens will have key role in implementing strategic plan.

    John Stephens has joined WPS as senior vice president for strategy and business development.

    He had served as a consultant to WPS when its strategic plan was being developed. Now, as a WPS executive, Stephens will have a key role in implementing the strategic plan and developing additional business opportunities.

    “John has more than 15 years of experience in strategic planning, problem-solving and implementing strategies to improve business performance,” said President and CEO Mike Hamerlik. “He impressed us with his skill and style when he worked with us during our strategic planning effort.”

    A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Stephens has broad experience in the insurance sector and has advised several health plans. He most recently co-led the health care and insurance practice at Bridge Strategy Group of Chicago, where he worked for 11 years. He has a degree in economics from Northwestern University, and an MBA with concentrations in strategic management and entrepreneurship from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


    Packers, WPS Health Insurance Present 'Operation Fan Mail' for 2013

    07/26/2013

    WPS Operation Fan Mail Program recognizes military families on Lambeau Field in pregame

    Operation Fan Mail, the program that recognizes military families at each Green Bay Packers home game, will mark its seventh season in 2013, and the fifth year it has been presented by WPS Health Insurance.

    The program, which debuted in 2007, is designed to honor families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS will host a family at each 2013 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 55 families have been saluted during the past six seasons.

    “We are honored that we’ve had the privilege of recognizing these military families at Lambeau Field for the last seven years,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “These men and women, along with their families, make many sacrifices for our freedom, and we’re happy to salute them with our fans.”

    "We are proud to partner with the Green Bay Packers through sponsorship of the Operation Fan Mail program," said Jeanne Wittig, WPS director of community relations. "We would like to express our gratitude to the men and women who have made great personal sacrifices on behalf of our country. Through Operation Fan Mail, we can honor and support our military families to ensure our commitment to them as they serve abroad, as well as when they return home."

    The Packers and WPS are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular family should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted online by clicking here.

    Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling. New this year, Purple Heart recipients are also eligible for recognition, even if they cannot return to active service status.

    In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families will receive four tickets to the game and a $150 Packers Pro Shop gift card courtesy of WPS.


    WPS Charitable Foundation issues 10 scholarships for 2013

    06/28/2013

    WPS announces the recipients of the WPS Charitable Foundation scholarships for 2013. The following 10 high school seniors will receive the one-year Ray Koenig Memorial Scholarship, which is named in honor of the first president of WPS.

    • Luke Allmon, son of Patricia Allmon (Medicare-Omaha), graduated from Missouri Valley High School and will be attending the University of Nebraska–Omaha.
    • Jacob Bloechl, son of Sue Hixon (TRICARE-Wausau), graduated from Merrill Senior High School and will be attending the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh.
    • Julia Fry, daughter of Kirk Fry (Sales-Milwaukee), graduated from Martin Luther High School and will be attending the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.
    • Julia Gilbertson, daughter of Tracey Halsted (Sales-Madison), graduated from Middleton High School and will be attending the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
    • Meghan Hosely, daughter of Cynthia Hosely (TRICARE–Madison), graduated from Sun Prairie High School and will be attending the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.
    • Nathan Kielpinski, son of Tom Kielpinski (Information Systems–Madison), graduated from Middleton High School and will be attending the University of Colorado–Boulder.
    • Alexander Maller, son of Deborah Maller (Medicare–Clearwater), graduated from Osceola Fundamental High School and will be attending the University of Florida.
    • Colman Mulkern, son of Shirley Norris (TRICARE–Madison), graduated from Madison La Follette High School and will be attending the University of Kansas.
    • Lorayne Schultz, daughter of Robert Schultz (Imaging–Madison), graduated from Mount Horeb High School and will be attending the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater.
    • Troy Showers, son of Sherri Showers (Actuarial-Madison), graduated from Stoughton High School and will be attending the University of Wisconsin–Platteville.

    Forty-five children of employees of WPS and its subsidiaries qualified this year. Characteristics of the applicants include:

    Gender: 28 females; 17 males

    Location:

    • Wisconsin: 28 - Madison; 5 - Wausau; 2 – Milwaukee; 1 – Green Bay/De Pere
    • Illinois: 3 – Marion
    • Nebraska: 3 – Omaha
    • Minnesota: 2 – Bloomington
    • Florida: 1 – Clearwater

    Parent works in: 14 - Medicare; 13 - TRICARE; 7 - Information Systems; 4 - Sales; 2 – Accounting; 2 – WPS Health Insurance Operations; 1 - Actuarial; 1 – Arise Health Plan; 1 – Plan Development


    WPS Health Insurance Appoints a New Member to its Executive Team, Introducing Dan Schwandt

    06/06/2013

    Read full article


    WPS Health Insurance Appoints a New Member to its Executive Team

    05/13/2013

    Former Vice President of Commercial Sales Returns to the Company

    WPS, Wisconsin’s leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, recently added Scott Kowalski, an insurance-industry veteran, to its executive team, President and CEO Mike Hamerlik announced today. Kowalski joins WPS as its new executive vice president of Health Insurance. He will also oversee the operations of Arise Health Plan, based in Green Bay, WI.

    “It’s so nice to welcome Scott back to our leadership team at WPS. He has a lot of experience and will be vital to our work in this new era of health care reform,” Hamerlik said. “His insights will help the senior leadership team ramp up WPS growth in the near term and create a framework for continued success down the road,” Hamerlik said.

    Kowalski previously worked as WPS Commercial Sales vice president and spent the past few years in the private practice of law, specializing in estate planning. He maintained his license to sell insurance during that time and has in-depth knowledge of the insurance business from the industry perspective and as an advisor to clients on health insurance purchases.

    “Scott’s wide knowledge of the state and his sales skills will help WPS make the most of the talents and experience of our Health Insurance division,” Hamerlik said.


    WPS Health Insurance Announces the Grand Opening of Its On-Site Clinic

    05/06/2013

    WPS health & wellness center event takes place May 20

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and top provider of affordable individual health plans, is holding an invitation-only grand opening on May 20 for its new WPS Health & Wellness Center. The event will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, cooking demonstration, and tours of the new facility.

    "Our new clinic facility will be a convenient resource for our employees and will help promote good health and wellness," Dan Edge, vice president of medical affairs and operations, said. "The staff is highly skilled and ready to start seeing patients as soon as the clinic opens."

    The WPS Health & Wellness Center, which opens to patients on May 6, is the result of a partnership between WPS and QuadMed, a nationwide leader in employer-sponsored health care.

    "We've learned a lot from QuadMed," said Mike Hamerlik, WPS CEO and president, "and I think our new clinic is a model other businesses could follow."

    The clinic will offer employees of WPS and its subsidiaries, along with their families, access to a full spectrum of medical care, including annual physicals and immunizations, preventive screenings, lab work, and wellness services.


    Longtime Arise Executive Mark Minsloff to Retire

    04/18/2013

    Veteran Health Care Expert Led Through Change

    Arise Health Plan, a subsidiary of Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation (WPS), announced today that Mark Minsloff, chief operating officer of Arise Health Plan, will retire May 1.

    Minsloff plans to spend more time on community service, including the American Red Cross, and travel with his wife, Vicki. They look forward to summers and falls at their home in Vilas County.

    "My family and I have enjoyed our years in Green Bay and the many lifelong friends we have made here, especially my colleagues at Arise," Minsloff said. "It's time for Vicki and I to visit the many cities we've dreamed about and enjoy more time at the lake."

    WPS CEO and President Mike Hamerlik said the company will miss Minsloff's leadership and experience.

    "We wish Mark the best in his well-deserved retirement," Hamerlik said. "He stayed with us longer than he planned to help our company prepare for the challenges of health care reform and the increasing role that government will play in our health care decisions. His focus and his initiative will be missed."

    Minsloff joined WPS in 2005 as a result of the acquisition of Prevea Health Plan, where he served as president and chief executive officer since 1999.

    Minsloff previously held executive positions at American Medical Security Insurance Co., Employers Health Insurance/Humana and Physicians Plus Insurance Corp.

    He worked earlier in his career as a clinician and hospital executive and earned a master's degree in Health Care Administration.


    WPS Health Insurance Appoints a New Member to its Executive Team

    03/20/2013

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, recently added Ellen Foley, a veteran journalist and marketing communications leader, to its executive team, President and CEO Mike Hamerlik announced today. Foley joins WPS as vice president of corporate communications.

    "Ellen will be an integral part of our efforts as we take on the opportunities presented by health care reform," Hamerlik said. "Ellen's deep knowledge of strategic efforts makes her an invaluable asset to the senior leadership team charged with growing WPS in the near term and laying the groundwork for continued success in the long term," Hamerlik said. He added that the company was able to hire after several retirements and efficiencies made at the top administrative levels.

    Foley is a 30-year veteran of daily journalism, the former editor of the Wisconsin State Journal, and was a leader of the $134 million successful referendum at Madison College in 2010. Her expertise as a social media and digital marketing executive are chronicled in the soon-to-be-released book, Social Works.

    Foley worked as the digital communications leader for Rippe Keane Marketing Inc. in 2012 and is president of Foley Media Group.

    At WPS, she will manage day-to-day communications with employees, insurance agents, health care providers, members, and prospective customers.


    WPS Health Insurance Earns a Place on Ethisphere's Exclusive 2013 List of 'World's Most Ethical Companies' for Fourth Year in a Row

    03/06/2013

    Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and a large government contractor for the federal Medicare and TRICARE programs, announced today that it has once again been recognized by the Ethisphere® Institute, the leading business ethics think-tank, as one of the World's Most Ethical (WME) Companies for 2013.

    This is the fourth year in a row that WPS has been honored for promoting the highest ethical standards. WPS secured a hard-earned spot on the WME list by implementing and maintaining upright business practices and initiatives that are instrumental to the company's success, benefit the community, and raise the bar for ethical standards within the industry. A total of 145 companies made the exclusive list this year, and WPS is the only health insurance company in the world to receive this recognition four times.

    "Even in difficult times, WPS employees don't lose sight of how important high ethical standards are. This makes the recognition of WPS Health Insurance as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies even more meaningful," said Jane Keller-Allen, vice president and corporate compliance officer at WPS. "Our employees work hard every day to earn the trust and respect of everyone we deal with, whether it's our customers, our communities, other employees, government officials, or even competitors. It's through their dedication and focus on doing what's right that WPS is able to maintain its strong record as a responsible company in a challenging industry, economy, and regulatory environment. I'm thankful to each and every one of our employees for making WPS a health insurance company that people in Wisconsin know they can trust," Keller-Allen said.

    This is the seventh year Ethisphere has published the WME rankings. Ethisphere evaluated nominees using its propriety methodology through in-depth research and multi-step analysis, naming the companies that surpassed their industry peers to this year's list. The 2013 list features companies in more than three dozen industries, including 43 companies headquartered outside the United States. Other 2013 WME winners include such well-known companies as eBay, Ford Motor Company, Hasbro, PepsiCo, Starbucks Coffee Company, and UPS.

    "WPS Health Insurance is a company that recognizes the competitive advantage that a strong ethical foundation and corporate responsibility play in today's business world," said Alex Brigham, executive director of the Ethisphere Institute. "As more and more organizations compete for this honor each year, the fact that WPS Health Insurance remains on the list of World's Most Ethical Companies demonstrates its industry-leading commitment to ethics and integrity."

    The rigorous methodology for the WME ranking includes reviewing codes of ethics, litigation and regulatory infraction histories; evaluating the investment in innovation and sustainable business practices; looking at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship; and studying nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers, and customers. Read about the methodology and view the complete list of the 2013 World's Most Ethical Companies on the official Ethisphere website.


    Lottery Sweepstakes Scam!

    03/05/2013

    WPS Health Insurance has become aware of a lottery sweepstakes scam in which fraudulent checks bearing the WPS name are being utilized. Individuals are contacted via mail with a letter informing them that they are “winners” of a lottery for amounts ranging from $250,000 to $300,000. Accompanying the letter is a fraudulent check bearing the “WPS Insurance Corporation” name. The instructions on the letter inform the “winner” that the attached check is a portion of the winnings provided to help pay taxes, insurance, handling, and shipping fees. The “winner” is also instructed to return a portion of the funds from the cashed check.

    Individuals receiving this letter and check should be aware that individuals may be trying to gain access to their bank accounts, or other personal information. Individuals who cash the check may be putting themselves at financial risk. Once the bank determines the check is fraudulent, the individual who cashed the check could be held responsible for returning funds back to the bank. Anyone who receives this lottery sweepstakes scam letter and check with WPS Insurance Corporation indicated are encouraged to report it to the WPS SIU Fraud Hotline number at 888-766-4681 and ask to speak to Cindy Severson.


    WPS Health Insurance Executive Talks to The Business Journal About Health Plan Sticker Shock

    02/22/2013

    Affordable Care Act Requirements Driving Health Insurance Costs Up

    Wisconsin’s leading not-for-profit health insurer and top provider of affordable individual health plans, is exploring new markets because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to Tom Olson, WPS vice president of sales and marketing. Olson recently spoke to The Business Journal about what WPS is doing to help small business owners avoid sticker shock.

    The ACA is changing health care and health insurance. Insurance companies in Wisconsin are grappling with increased costs as they work to develop plans that incorporate all of the new requirements for health plans.

    Some plan premiums have increased dramatically over the past year while others will be increasing for next year, according to The Business Journal article. America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) listed three reasons why costs are increasing. They include a sales tax on health insurance, restrictions on age rating, and minimum essential health benefits.

    Small employers are considering a variety of ways to pay for increased insurance costs. Some small businesses are considering self-funded insurance plans, The Business Journal states, which are exempt from many ACA requirements but shift the risk onto the business. Olson explained that WPS is preparing to introduce its own small-group, self-funded plan to help small businesses provide insurance to their workers for less. Other small businesses, like the two Brookfield companies in the story, will likely tap the insurance exchange to help ease their expenses.

    Employees of a Brookfield law office quoted in the article are still adjusting to a 12% increase in health insurance rates for 2013. Another Brookfield employer raised deductibles for its employees this year to avoid a 30% rate hike, leaving the owners of that business wondering what next year will bring. Due to the age rating limitations, the biggest increases, the article states, will be for businesses with younger workers. Companies with older employees won't see as big of an increase, and in some cases might see decreases.


    WPS Health Insurance Begins American Heart Month with Go Red for Women

    02/01/2013

    Insurer promotes heart disease awareness all month long

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, is participating in the American Heart Association's 10th annual "Go Red for Women" campaign on Feb. 1.

    Go Red for Women is promoted locally by the South Central Wisconsin Chapter of the American Heart Association. WPS employees will join Americans across the country to celebrate National Wear Red Day® to increase awareness about heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women.

    "Go Red for Women gives us a great opportunity to raise awareness among our employees and our community about heart-related illnesses that can strike women," said Christine Russell, vice president of government relations for WPS and chairperson of the Go Red for Women luncheon.

    WPS employees were invited to participate, along with others in the Madison community, in the Madison Goes Red Lighting Party on Jan. 31 at the Overture Center for the Arts to kick off American Heart Month. In addition, outdoor lighting on the WPS campus has been changed to red for the month of February.

    2012


    WPS Health Insurance Supports The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign

    12/17/2012

    Fund-raising bells will be ringing until Dec. 24

    WPS Health Insurance, the leading not-for-profit provider of health insurance in Wisconsin and the state's top provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, is supporting The Salvation Army of Dane County in its Red Kettle Campaign through Dec. 24.

    WPS has supported the fundraiser for more than 15 years, according to Chuck Grant, former WPS vice president of human resources and current member of the Salvation Army of Dane County board of directors. "The best part about this event for WPS is the employee involvement," he said. "Supporting an organization that does so much good in the community is really rewarding for everyone involved."

    The Salvation Army depends on the campaign to raise a substantial portion of its annual operating budget. The money raised provides food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless, and opportunities for underprivileged children. For every dollar The Salvation Army spends, 82 cents is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. This year's goal for the Dane County group is $700,000.

    The 2012 Red Kettle Campaign brings The Salvation Army's iconic kettles and 25,000 bell ringers to street corners and storefronts nationwide through Dec. 24. Look for WPS bell ringers at Madison's South Towne Shopko store.


    WPS Health Insurance Offers Extended Rate Guarantee Option on Individual and Family Health Plans

    12/05/2012

    New option locks in rates until December 2014

    WPS Health Insurance, the leading not-for-profit provider of health insurance in Wisconsin and the state's top provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, offers relief from the uncertainty of health care reform legislation with a new extended rate guarantee option. The option helps Wisconsin residents and their families protect themselves from unexpected rate increases that may result from new coverage mandates, taxes, and health insurance exchanges.

    The new extended rate guarantee option allows qualified WPS members to lock in their health insurance premiums until December 2014. This option is available right now on WPS individual and family plans, from traditional PPO plans to health savings account (HSA)-qualified plans with effective dates of Jan. 1, 2013 or later.

    The new extended rate guarantee option can help members avoid the uncertainty associated with the new rules and the implementation of the law. For more information, see the Get a Quote page on the WPS website.


    WPS Health Insurance Launches Your Health Matters Blog

    11/12/2012

    Online resource will cover health and health insurance issues

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, now offers the new Your Health Matters blog to provide Wisconsin residents with information on health and health care coverage-related topics. The blog allows readers to comment and interact with WPS contributors to share experiences and ask questions.

    "The blog offers a fun, friendly place where anyone can get the information they need to make better decisions about their health care and health insurance coverage," said Stephanie Tervort, manager of marketing communications. "We're very excited to reach out to our members and the general public in this new way. I'm looking forward to some great conversations."

    At least twice a week, articles will be posted to help readers:

    • Gain a better understanding of health insurance topics and terminology
    • Get healthy and stay healthy with wellness tips, information, and self-help tools
    • Join the conversation and find answers to their own pressing questions
    Look for the Your Health Matters blog online at blog.wpsic.com for more information.


    WPS Health Insurance Staffing Reductions Will Not Affect Benefits for Members

    11/06/2012

    WPS Health Insurance announced today that it is adjusting its resources in response to competitive pressures and recent losses in the government contract market.

    The company will adjust resources across the corporation. Staffing impacts could affect 600 positions, though this number is subject to change. The actual adjustments and timeframe depends on the outcome of protests and additional opportunities.

    Adjustments will occur in phases over the next year. Notices to staff will begin as early as November 2012.

    Recent activity in the company's government business lines makes the reductions necessary.

    In its TRICARE Division, the company served as a subcontractor to TriWest Healthcare Alliance of Phoenix, who recently lost a contract to administer benefits in 21 western states. This contract expires April 1, but some administrative tasks will continue through September. Primary staffing impacts because of this contract loss will be at facilities in Madison and Wausau. WPS will keep the Wausau facility open and expects to have 50 employees working at that site.

    In its Medicare Division, the company was recently awarded two significant Medicare contracts to administer Part A and Part B Medicare benefits in Indiana and Michigan, as well as Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. Despite these successes, WPS must do more with less to meet cost commitments that are a normal part of competitive bidding. Staffing impacts will be at facilities in Madison, Nebraska, and other out-of-Wisconsin locations.

    Recently, the company was not awarded a contract that would have served Medicare beneficiaries and providers in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. WPS has filed a protest on this Medicare contract decision and expects to learn the results of the protest by mid-January.

    "This is a very difficult process for WPS and its employees, but it is real and necessary", WPS CEO Mike Hamerlik said. "WPS will continue to focus on what makes us successful – understanding and meeting the needs of our customers."

    In keeping with the corporate belief that employees are its most important asset, WPS is offering a severance benefit. Impacted employees can also apply for open positions at WPS, access outplacement services, and receive assistance in contacting employment opportunities through various agencies, like Wisconsin Job Service.


    WPS Health Insurance Announces the Promotion of Tom Nelson to Replace Retiring Bill Beisenstein as Chief Financial Officer

    10/18/2012

    Nelson Brings 31 Years of Comprehensive Financial Experience in Health Care

    WPS Health Insurance, the leading not-for-profit provider of health insurance in Wisconsin and the state's top provider of affordable individual health insurance, announced today that Tom Nelson has been promoted to chief financial officer effective October 1, 2012. Nelson replaced Bill Beisenstein, who retired from the company on September 28 after more than 24 years of service.

    Beisenstein oversaw all WPS accounting, treasury, and facility functions, as well as the accounting function of WPS subsidiaries, EPIC Life Insurance Company and WPS Health Plan, Inc. (Arise). He also oversaw all building and office service functions and had executive oversight of dental products and the partnership with Delta Dental of Wisconsin. Before joining WPS, Bill served 15 years with accounting firm Grant Thornton, eight as a partner. Bill also served for two years as a senior accountant with Touche Ross & Company.

    "It is with mixed feelings, but mostly great appreciation, that we say goodbye to Bill," said Mike Hamerlik, President and Chief Executive Officer of WPS. "Every day, Bill lived up to our values of honesty, integrity, ethical business practices, and community leadership. Though he is too humble to say it, Bill leaves a proud legacy of service and professionalism that his successor, Tom Nelson, will work hard to continue."

    In his previous role as senior vice president of Commercial Business, Nelson was responsible for all commercial sales, marketing, actuarial services, underwriting, operations, medical affairs, and regulatory services. He joined WPS in 1981 as a staff accountant. Later serving as vice president of Accounting for 13 years, he oversaw the day-to-day accounting functions for WPS and its subsidiary businesses with a focus on cost, budgeting, and strategic planning. In 2009, Nelson was promoted to senior vice president of Commercial Business.

    "We are very fortunate to have Tom to take Bill's place. Tom's many years with WPS make him well prepared for his new position. His extensive experience and deep understanding of the industry, as well as his passion for this company, will ensure that we continue to serve our customers well," said Hamerlik.

    Said Nelson, "I couldn't be more excited to be WPS' new CFO. It's an exciting time in the industry and I look forward to partnering with Mike, our board, and the rest of the management team to execute our strategies and achieve great success."

    Nelson brings to his new position more than 31 years of comprehensive financial experience in the health care industry in both private and governmental business. Nelson holds a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He is also a certified public accountant.

    "We are very fortunate to have Tom to take Bill's place. Tom's many years with WPS make him well prepared for his new position."
    — Mike Hamerlik, President and Chief Executive Officer of WPS


    WPS Health Insurance Announces Wisconsin's Top-Rated Part D Plans at New, Low Rates for 2013

    10/01/2012

    Reminder: Medicare Beneficiaries Must Make Their Part D Enrollment Selections by December 7 for Coverage That Begins January 1, 2013

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of the state's top-selling Medicare supplemental insurance plans,1 today announces its 2013 Medicare Part D plans, which offer highly rated, competitively priced prescription drug coverage to help Medicare beneficiaries save money on prescription drugs. In 2012, WPS MedicareRx (PDP) plans were rated the top Medicare Part D plans in the state, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for overall quality and service, including a perfect 5 out of 5 stars for drug pricing and patient safety.2

    "Quality counts when it comes to prescription drug plans," said Tom Olson, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at WPS Health Insurance. "As the high costs of prescription drugs continue to rise, many Wisconsinites simply cannot afford to be without the protection of a quality drug plan. That's why WPS Health Insurance is so excited to offer new, lower rates on Wisconsin's top-rated Part D plans."

    Premiums for the 2013 WPS MedicareRx plans are about 15% lower than last year's plans, making them an outstanding value for Wisconsin Medicare beneficiaries looking for dependable protection at a competitive price.

    Today, more than 25,000 Wisconsin Medicare enrollees choose WPS MedicareRx plans, making WPS the leading not-for-profit Part D provider in the state.3

    Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period is October 15 to December 7 this year

    WPS reminds Wisconsin Medicare beneficiaries to make their Medicare Part D plan selections during Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which this year runs from October 15 through December 7.

    During Medicare's AEP, all Wisconsin seniors are eligible for WPS MedicareRx plans, regardless of income level or assets, pre-existing conditions, or current prescription expenses. But it is critical for Medicare beneficiaries who are currently enrolled in a plan to make their selections now if they wish to change their coverage for 2013. Once the AEP ends on December 7, seniors will be unable to switch plans until January 2014 unless they qualify for a special enrollment period.

    "When making coverage decisions, WPS recommends that individuals choose a plan based on long-term value and benefits," said Olson. "The lowest-cost plan is often not the best choice, and may not even be the most affordable choice if it comes with high out-of-pocket costs or high rate increases after the initial low rate."

    Forty-six years of experience serving seniors on Medicare

    WPS has served seniors on Medicare since Medicare began in 1966. Not only is WPS the leading not-for-profit Part D provider in the state, but it is also home to Wisconsin's #1-selling Medicare supplemental insurance plan,1 the WPS Medicare Companion, which today helps nearly 40,000 Medicare beneficiaries fill the gaps in Medicare coverage at competitive premiums.

    "Quality counts when it comes to prescription drug plans." — Tom Olson, Senior V.P. of Sales and Marketing, WPS Health Insurance


    WPS Health Insurance Offers Free Guide Discussing Proposed Changes to Medicare

    09/28/2012

    Free Guide Explores Five Proposed Changes and Their Potential Effects on Medicare Enrollees

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable Medicare Part D plans and Medicare supplemental insurance, is offering a free eight-page guide aimed at helping Wisconsin residents learn about the proposed changes to Medicare being discussed by policymakers in Washington.

    Today, nearly 47 million Americans—including more than 1 million Wisconsin residents—depend on Medicare to help them pay for health care. As the presidential election heats up and Medicare becomes a focal point of the debate, more and more Wisconsinites may wonder: "How might Medicare change in the years ahead, and what might these changes mean for me?" This free guide aims to provide some answers.

    Available for free download from the WPS website, "5 Proposed Changes to Medicare: What You Need to Know" introduces Wisconsin residents to proposed changes that include: increasing the age of Medicare eligibility, changing the cost-sharing requirements of Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (doctor insurance), restructuring Medicare using a premium-support approach, and more. Some proposals could take effect almost immediately, while others would change the program slowly over a number of years.

    "This latest free guide from WPS Health Insurance is an important resource for every Wisconsin resident who is interested in learning more about Medicare and the proposed changes that may affect them and their loved ones," said Jim Baird, vice president of individual sales at WPS Health Insurance. "The question right now is not if Medicare will change, but rather how and when it will change. As Americans and as consumers of health care, the answers will affect us all."

    Included in the guide is a brief overview of some of the positive changes happening for enrollees in plan year 2013, such as expanded coverage for preventive-care benefits, increased coverage for prescription drugs, and financial incentives that reward hospitals for providing high-quality care. In addition, readers will find tips for choosing (or changing to) the right coverage to meet their needs, as well as contact information for reliable Medicare resources such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to the Social Security Administration.

    Forty-six years of experience serving seniors on Medicare.

    WPS has served Medicare enrollees since the program began in 1966. Today, the company's Medicare supplement plan, the WPS Medicare Companion, is the #1 choice of Wisconsin seniors, outselling all other Medicare supplements in the state.1 In addition, more than 25,000 seniors have enrolled in the company's Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plans, making WPS the largest not-for-profit Part D plan provider in Wisconsin2.

    WPS encourages Wisconsin residents who have Medicare-specific questions to visit the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov or call 1 800 MEDICARE (800-633-4227).

    1 Based on sales data submitted by insurers to the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, 2012. 2 CMS enrollment data, 3/2012.

    "The question right now is not if Medicare will change, but rather how and when it will change." —Jim Baird, V.P. of individual sales at WPS Health Insurance


    WPS Health Insurance Participates in the Madison Heart Walk®

    09/25/2012

    WPS offers more than 50 articles on heart-related issues through the online WPS Health Center

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, is a local sponsor of the American Heart Association's Madison Heart Walk. WPS is providing financial support and is anticipating a team of 200 or more walkers to help raise additional funds and awareness of heart-related diseases.

    The Madison Heart Walk is a benefit for the South Central Wisconsin Chapter of the American Heart Association. This family-friendly event will be held Oct. 13 at Warner Park in Madison.

    Since 1924, the American Heart Association has been the largest voluntary health association. It helps protect people of all ages and ethnicities from the ravages of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. These diseases devastate millions of people of all ages and take more than 910,000 American lives each year.


    Lottery Sweepstakes Scam!

    09/04/2012

    WPS Health Insurance has become aware of a lottery sweepstakes scam in which fraudulent checks bearing the WPS name are being utilized. Individuals are contacted via mail with a letter informing them that they are “winners” of a Continental Lottery Resource Management Inc. lottery, USA Lottery Sweepstakes, or other such lottery for amounts ranging from $250,000 to $300,000. Accompanying the letter is a fraudulent check bearing the “WPS Insurance Corporation” name. The instructions on the letter inform the “winner” that the attached check is a portion of the winnings provided to help pay taxes, insurance, handling, and shipping fees. The “winner” is also instructed to return a portion of the funds from the cashed check.

    Individuals receiving this letter and check should be aware that individuals may be trying to gain access to their bank accounts, or other personal information. Individuals who cash the check may be putting themselves at financial risk. Once the bank determines the check is fraudulent, the individual who cashed the check could be held responsible for returning funds back to the bank. Anyone who receives this lottery sweepstakes scam letter and check are encouraged to report it to the WPS SIU Fraud Hotline number at 888-766-4681 and ask to speak to Cindy Severson.


    WPS Health Insurance Observes Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

    08/31/2012

    Interactive Obesity article is one of hundreds of online health articles available 24/7 from the WPS Health Center

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, recognizes September as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, which is organized by the American College of Sports Medicine. Obese children can suffer from Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke, according to the Childhood Obesity Awareness Month (COAM) website. There are more than 23 million children and teenagers in the U.S. who are obese or overweight, the site states.

    WPS Health Insurance supports healthy lifestyles and offers informational resources through the WPS Health Center, an online collection of health-related information. The health center article, "Obesity," offers valuable information about obesity related health risks and weight management strategies. The WPS health center also offers the interactive tool, "What's your child's BMI?" to help determine obesity risk in children ages 2-19.

    "One of the best ways to fight obesity is to change your lifestyle," said WPS Senior Medical Director Dr. Marvin Wiener. "Dieting can be challenging. Rather than focus only on food, it's better to look at the big picture. To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. If you choose healthier foods and increase physical activity, you'll have a good start toward better health," he said. "If you have an overweight child, work with the child's doctor to develop a personalized weight loss plan," he concluded.


    WPS Health Insurance Earns Full URAC Re-accreditation For Health Utilization Management

    08/22/2012

    URAC accreditation recognizes WPS' commitment to health care quality, accountability, and compliance with national standards

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, is proud to announce that it has once again been awarded full Health Utilization Management Accreditation from URAC, a Washington, DC-based health care accrediting organization that establishes quality standards for the health care industry. URAC's Health Utilization Management standards ensure that organizations conducting utilization review or management services follow a process that is clinically sound and respect patients' and providers' rights while giving payers reasonable guidelines to follow.

    "WPS Health Insurance is honored to once again receive Health Utilization Management Accreditation from URAC," said Mike Hamerlik, president and CEO of WPS. "Every day, we work hard to promote cost-effective care with optimal outcomes. Achieving full re-accreditation demonstrates our commitment to these goals, underscores the quality of our work with members and health care providers, and reinforces our role as a leading Wisconsin health insurer."

    URAC's Health Utilization Management standards establish consistency in the utilization management processes. They ensure that appropriately trained clinical personnel conduct and oversee the utilization review process, that a reasonable and timely appeals process is in place, and that coverage decisions are based on valid clinical criteria. WPS has maintained URAC accreditation since 1997.

    "By applying for and receiving URAC Health Utilization Management Accreditation, WPS Health Insurance has demonstrated a commitment to quality health care," said Alan P. Spielman, URAC president and CEO. "Quality health care is crucial to our nation's welfare and it is important to have organizations that are willing to measure themselves against national standards."

    URAC, an independent, nonprofit organization, is a leader in promoting health care quality through accreditation and certification programs. URAC's standards keep pace with the rapid changes in the health care system and provide a mark of distinction for health care organizations to demonstrate their commitment to quality and accountability. Through its broad-based governance structure and an inclusive standards development process, URAC ensures that all stakeholders are represented in setting meaningful standards for the health care industry. For more information, visit www.urac.org.


    WPS Health Insurance To Once Again Sponsor the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's "Bike MS: TOYOTA Best Dam Bike Ride" in 2012

    07/30/2012

    29th annual fundraiser will draw nearly 2,000 cyclists and volunteers for a scenic trek from Milwaukee to the WPS campus in Madison

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, is proud to once again sponsor the National Multiple Sclerosis Society-Wisconsin Chapter's Bike MS: TOYOTA Best Dam Bike Ride. The two-day fundraiser takes place Saturday and Sunday, August 4–5. This year's event will feature a three-county ride from Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee to the WPS Health Insurance campus in Madison. Proceeds will support critical MS research and provide much-needed programs and services for Wisconsin residents with MS and their families.

    "WPS is once again proud to be a partnering sponsor of this year's Best Dam Bike Ride," said Mike Hamerlik, president and chief executive officer of WPS. "It is our pleasure to support the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and everyone whose lives are touched by this outstanding organization."

    Each year, Bike MS: TOYOTA Best Dam Bike Ride brings nearly 2,000 cyclists, family members, friends, and volunteers together to move toward a cure for MS—a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. This year, cyclists can choose to ride a 50-, 75-, or 100-mile route each day, as well as a new 25-mile, one-day route on Saturday. Their efforts help to make an extraordinary difference in the lives of more than 10,000 children, women, and men in Wisconsin who live with MS.

    In addition to sponsoring the event, WPS will once again be represented by its very own cycling team. "WPS Spokes Crew" is led by co-captains Kerri Zastrow and Paul Brazeau, and includes team members Douglas Peters, Kevin Zalnis, David Lyons, Carlo Younger, and Kathy Muhs.

    "We thank WPS Health Insurance for its partnering sponsorship," said Colleen Kalt, president and CEO of the National MS Society-Wisconsin Chapter. "WPS continues to be a terrific partner in our efforts to end multiple sclerosis. With every mile our bikers ride, we move closer to a cure."

    In support of Bike MS: TOYOTA Best Dam Bike Ride participants, the Society provides frequent, fully stocked rest stops, mechanical and medical support, lodging, meals and entertainment, a finish-line celebration, transportation, and more. The fee to enter is $40. Participants must pledge a minimum of $300 to receive their rider numbers, and they may continue to fundraise and be eligible for incentives until September 16.

    This is the second year WPS has sponsored Bike MS: TOYOTA Best Dam Bike Ride. An active supporter of local community organizations, WPS has also partnered with United Way, The Salvation Army, Komen Madison Race for the Cure, VSA Wisconsin, and many others.

    For more information about Bike MS: TOYOTA Best Dam Bike Ride 2012 and how to register, please visit www.bikeMSwisconsin.org.

    About the National MS Society

    The National MS Society is a collective of passionate people dedicated to achieving a world free of multiple sclerosis. The Society funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, facilitates professional education, and provides programs and services that help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. The Wisconsin Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society proudly serves more than 10,000 residents diagnosed with MS, and those who love and care for them.


    WPS Health Insurance Observes National Immunization Awareness Month

    07/24/2012

    Interactive "Immunizations" article is one of hundreds of online health articles available 24/7 from the WPS Health Center

    August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Now is the perfect time to talk about vaccinations with family, friends, and coworkers. WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, offers several articles about immunizations on its website to help readers get the information they need.

    "Immunizations aren't just for kids," WPS Senior Medical Director Dr. Marvin Wiener says, "although children typically do require more vaccinations than adults. Everyone should get the shots they need to help protect against serious diseases and illnesses."

    People 6 months old and older should get a seasonal flu shot every year, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, healthfinder.gov. The site states that other shots to be considered include:

    • Children younger than 6 years old should get a series of shots to protect against measles, polio, chicken pox, and hepatitis.
    • All 11- and 12-year-olds should have shots to help protect against tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, and meningitis.
    • Doctors recommend girls aged 11 to 12 also get the HPV vaccine to protect against the most common cause of cervical cancer.
    • All adults need a tetanus shot every 10 years.
    • People age 65 should get a one-time pneumonia shot.

    Talk to your doctor or nurse about which shots you and your family need. For more information on immunizations, visit the WPS Health Center and read our "Immunizations" article. It offers more specific information on vaccinations, reasons to get immunized, possible side effects, definitions of key terms, and more.


    WPS Health Insurance is Pleased to Announce the Recipients of the 2012 WPS Charitable Foundations Scholarships

    07/05/2012

    WPS Health Insurance is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2012 WPS Charitable Foundation Scholarships. Forty-five children of employees of WPS and its subsidiaries qualified this year. Characteristics of the applicants include:

    Gender: 23 females; 22 males

    Location:

    • Wisconsin: 33 - Madison; 4 - Wausau; 3 – Green Bay
    • Illinois: 3 – Marion
    • Nebraska: 2 – Omaha

    Parent works in: 12 - Medicare; 10 - TRICARE; 8 - Information Systems; 5 - Commercial Operations; 3 – Arise Health Plan; 2 – Securing Success (S2 ); 1 - Actuarial; 1 – Business Services; 1 – Corporate EDI; 1 – Employee Services; 1 – EPIC; 1 – Medical Affairs; 1 – Risk Management (Two applicants have both parents employed at WPS or its subsidiaries)

    The following 10 high school seniors will receive the four-year Ray Koenig Memorial Scholarship, which is named in honor of the first president of WPS.

    • Paige Beuligmann, daughter of Kay Beuligmann (Medicare-Marion), graduated from Carterville High School and will be attending Murray State University
    • Alex Cordova, son of Julie Cordova (TRICARE-Wausau), graduated from Merrill High School and will be attending University of Wisconsin—La Crosse.
    • Bethany Detert, daughter of Dianne Detert (TRICAREWausau), graduated from Merrill High School and will be attending University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point
    • Erikajo Johnson, daughter of Lynne Johnson (Business Services–Madison), graduated from Oregon High School and will be attending University of Wisconsin—Platteville.
    • Samuel Loerch, son of Jay Loerch (Medicare–Omaha), graduated from Papillion-LaVista South High School and will be attending University of Nebraska
    • Daniel McKay, son of Daniel McKay (Medicare–Madison), graduated from Brodhead High School and will be attending University of Wisconsin—Madison.
    • Bradley O’Loughlin, son of John O’Loughlin (Commercial Operations–Madison), graduated from Madison Memorial High School and will be attending University of Wisconsin—Madison.
    • Trevor Ring, son of Mary Beth Ring (Commercial Operations–Madison), graduated from McFarland High School and will be attending Michigan State University
    • Evan Riniker, son of Patrick Riniker (Securing Success S²–Madison), graduated from New Glarus High School and will be attending University of Wisconsin—La Crosse.
    • Caitlin Voss, daughter of Lori Voss (Commercial Operations Madison), graduated from Verona Area High School and will be attending University of Wisconsin—La Crosse

    In addition to children of employees, WPS has awarded four-year Ray Koenig Memorial Scholarships to one student from each of the following local high schools: Madison East, Madison La Follette, and Monona Grove.

    • Alyssa Gile graduated from Madison East High School and plans to attend the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. She is undecided about her major.
    • Kali Thibault graduated from Madison La Follette High School and plans to attend Lawrence University and major in chemistry.
    • Everett Mulroe graduated from Monona Grove High School and plans to attend DePaul University where she anticipates majoring in journalism and psychology


    WPS Health Insurance Sponsors the 15th Annual Harley-Davidson "Thunder Run" Charity Ride to Cure Diabetes

    07/01/2012

    Organizers expect this year's event to raise more than $100,000

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, is proud to sponsor the 15th Annual Thunder Run Ride to Cure, a two-day fundraiser dedicated to the fight against diabetes. Hosted by 4 Lakes Capital City Harley Owners Group® (H.O.G.®), the event will take place Friday and Saturday, July 13 and 14, at Capital City Harley-Davidson in Madison. This year's goal is to raise $100,000, with all proceeds donated to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Diabetes Association. The Thunder Run has raised more than $1 million during the past 14 years.

    Expected to draw hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts from across the state, this year's Thunder Run will feature a round-trip ride on Saturday from the Capital City Harley-Davidson dealership to the event's host city of Columbus.

    Friday's Thunder Run events include a 12-stop poker run through the scenic hills, valleys and curves of southern Wisconsin, followed by a bike raffle, Bikini & Bike Calendar Competition, door prizes, music, food, and refreshments. At noon on Saturday, the Thunder Run rumbles out of Capital City Harley-Davidson for a group ride to Columbus. At 4 p.m., events at the Capital City dealership resume with a bike show, tattoo contest, silent auction, and drawing for a 2012 Harley-Davidson Street Glide motorcycle, plus music, vendors, food, and refreshments.

    On-site registration for the Thunder Run is $25 for both days ($10 for kids ages 16–18, $5 for ages 12–15, and children under 12 are admitted free). Fees include a Thunder Run T-shirt, a 2012 commemorative pin, participation in the ride, and access to all events. A single-day admission fee of $10 gains participants entry to Friday's events only (3 p.m. to close), or the after-ride festivities on Saturday (3 p.m. to close). Single-day admission does not include T-shirt, pin, or participation in the ride. Raffle tickets are $10 each and give participants a chance to win their choice of a 2012 Harley-Davidson Street Glide motorcycle valued at more than $21,000, or $10,000 cash. Only 5,000 tickets are available for purchase at Capital City Harley-Davidson or in Columbus at the Thunder Run.

    Bikes of all makes and models are welcome, and participation in Friday and Saturday's on-site activities is open to everyone (no motorcycle required). Thunder Run participants urge the community to come out and wave them on to victory against diabetes, a disease that affects more than 25 million Americans.

    WPS has sponsored the Thunder Run annually since 2003, providing financial support for the cause as well as employee volunteers to work the event. An active supporter of local community organizations, WPS has also teamed up with United Way, The Salvation Army, Komen Madison Race for the Cure, VSA of Wisconsin, and many others.


    WPS Health Insurance Sponsors the 15th Annual VSA Wisconsin Golf Exhibition Featuring Steve Stricker

    06/15/2012

    Fundraiser supports efforts to enrich the lives of people with disabilities through participation in the arts

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, is sponsoring VSA Wisconsin's 15th Annual Golf Exhibition to be held Monday, June 18 at the Cherokee Country Club in Madison. The event features Steve Stricker, top-ranked professional golfer and Madison resident, and supports VSA Wisconsin's mission to make a positive impact on the lives of children and adults with disabilities through participation in the arts. A nine-hole golf exhibition at 9 a.m. will be followed immediately by a luncheon (approximately 11:30) featuring VSA Wisconsin participants, a silent and live auction of sports memorabilia and other special items, plus a Q&A session with Stricker.

    All of the proceeds from this event go to the VSA Art Center in Madison. Established in 1997, the VSA Art Center provides individual and group classes for children and adults with disabilities. Classes give individuals with disabilities an opportunity to meet new friends, participate in activities outside of home and work, and experience the arts.

    Jim Riordan, president and chief executive officer emeritus of WPS, also serves as chair of the board of directors at VSA Wisconsin. "Participation in the arts stimulates the senses and lifts the human spirit," Riordan said. "As proud sponsor of this event, WPS Health Insurance is pleased to support VSA Wisconsin in its mission to celebrate the creative power and artistic accomplishments of children and adults with disabilities."

    As an active sponsor of local community organizations, WPS has supported VSA Wisconsin since 1985 and has been a major sponsor of the golf exhibition every year since the event began. WPS offers financial backing to VSA Wisconsin for innovative new programs, professional expertise in the areas of technology, marketing and printing, and volunteer support for many activities, from fairs to fundraisers.

    To order tickets for this event, please call 1-608-241-2131 or visit www.vsawis.org/events/stricker_golf_exhibition/event_information/.

    About VSA Wisconsin

    VSA Wisconsin was incorporated in 1985 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding the capabilities, confidence, and quality of life for children and adults with disabilities by providing programs in dance, drama, creative writing, music, and visual art. VSA Wisconsin is an affiliate of VSA, a program of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. VSA was founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts. VSA Wisconsin programs, events, and exhibitions reach more than a quarter million people every year. For more information about VSA Wisconsin, visit www.vsawis.org.


    "Real Men Go to the Doctor"—WPS Health Insurance Observes Men's Health Month by Encouraging Regular Preventive Care

    05/31/2012

    Routine checkups are key to avoiding serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer

    Studies show that the average lifespan for men is about seven years less than women. Men are also more likely to die of chronic disease. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are 80 percent less likely than women to use a regular source of health care—which may be a major cause for the disparity. WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, today observes Men's Health Month by encouraging men of all ages to schedule an appointment with their doctors and to visit the WPS Health Center for interactive decision tools, resources, and tips.

    Celebrated every year in June, Men's Health Month is a great opportunity to raise men's awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease. It serves as an important reminder because men typically don't go to the doctor as often as they should.

    "Many men see the doctor only when they feel sick or have a medical emergency," said Dr. Marvin Wiener, Senior Medical Director at WPS Health Insurance, "and that's not nearly enough. Like a muscle car or motorcycle, men's bodies need regular maintenance. Routine preventive care is and always will be one of the best ways to stay healthy and help avoid serious problems down the road."

    And now, annual checkups and other preventive care services are available at essentially no cost to men, women, and children through their health plans. Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurers must pay 100% for all preventive care services ranked A and B by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. So men can no longer use cost as a reason to not see the doctor, as they won't have to pay a penny in copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance for routine exams.

    Regular medical checkups are an important tool in the fight to prevent cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes—some of the leading causes of death in men.

    "Men can live longer and healthier lives by getting regular checkups and screening exams for cholesterol, blood sugar, prostate disease, and colon cancer," said Dr. Wiener. "It's absolutely vital because some chronic health problems, like heart disease, have few symptoms. For too many men, the first sign of trouble is a serious health emergency or even death."

    Men can also benefit from talking with their doctors about healthy lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and drinking, eating a nutritious diet, getting more exercise, and reducing stress.

    The WPS Health Center offers a fast and easy way for men (and the women who care about them) to brush up on topics ranging from smoking cessation and weight management to chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and low back pain. For the month of June, our interactive decision tools in the Health Action Center are focused on helping men make wise decisions to improve their health. These tools help men decide which health screenings they need; provide tips for cultivating a healthy, positive outlook; explain how to deal with negative thoughts; and more.

    In addition, the WPS Health Center's online health encyclopedia and interactive symptom checker provide the facts men need to understand their symptoms and prepare better questions in time for their next doctor visit.

    WPS encourages individuals and families looking for more health insurance tips and strategies to check out the WPS Learning Center for free articles on controlling costs, preventing illness, making wise health decisions, and more timely topics. For questions or to request a quote for a high-quality individual or family health plan from WPS, please call 888-245-4197 to talk with a friendly representative.


    What Are Health Insurance Provider Discounts, and How Do They Save Plan Members Money? WPS Health Insurance Explains

    05/23/2012

    New WPS Learning Center article explores how health insurers negotiate with health care providers to offer members discounted rates

    Most people understand that health insurance offers protection from the financial pain of high medical bills by sharing the costs of health care. But there's another, lesser-known way health insurance saves plan members money, and it's called the provider discount. WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, explains provider discounts in a new article, "Health Insurance 101: Provider Discounts—One More Way a Health Plan Saves You Money" now available free online from the WPS Learning Center.

    "Provider discounts are price breaks that a health insurer negotiates with health care providers—doctors and hospitals—for their services in exchange for patient volume," said Jim Baird, vice president of individual sales at WPS Health Insurance.

    "By themselves, provider discounts are a great reason to buy a health plan," said Baird. "The moment you join a plan, you are eligible to receive discounts on the list price of services. If you don't have health insurance, you don't benefit from those discounts—you pay the full retail price. The savings can be substantial."

    This is an important point to remember, particularly for people who are considering purchasing a high-deductible health plan.

    "My team talks with people all across Wisconsin who miss the value of high-deductible health plans. 'Where's the savings?' they ask. 'I have to pay $2,000 before the plan starts to share my costs.' The answer is provider discounts. Even if you never meet your deductible, you'll still save big money because you are paying a discounted rate instead of the provider's list price. And that's before you even consider the money you'll save on preventive care—such as annual exams and screenings—which most health plans now pay 100%."

    WPS encourages individuals and families looking for more health and insurance-related tips to check out the WPS Learning Center and the WPS Health Center for free articles on controlling costs, preventing illness, making wise health decisions, and other timely topics. For questions or to request a quote for a high-quality individual or family health plan from WPS, please call 888-245-4197 to talk with a friendly representative.


    What Are Health Insurance Deductibles? WPS Health Insurance Explains

    04/27/2012

    New WPS Learning Center article explores how deductibles affect health plan premiums, suggests ways to save money

    Deductibles are a common feature of most types of insurance, from car to home to health. But what is a deductible? WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, explains this term in a new article, "Health Insurance 101: What's a Deductible?" now available free online from the WPS Learning Center.

    Put simply, a health insurance deductible is the amount that a policyholder must pay toward his or her medical expenses before the insurance company begins to pay its share. "It's usually a calendar-year amount," said Jim Baird, vice president of individual sales at WPS Health Insurance. "So at the start of each year, the deductible resets and the policyholder is once again responsible for paying that amount toward his or her medical expenses."

    "Let's say you have a health plan with a $1,000 deductible," said Baird. "After a stay at the hospital, you have a medical bill for $25,000. You would be responsible for paying the first $1,000 toward those expenses. After that, your health plan would begin to pay benefits for the remaining $24,000 according to the terms of your policy."

    The full article,"What's a Deductible?", explains deductibles in detail, including how:

    • Many preventive care visits (such as routine exams, well-child visits, screenings, and immunizations) are not subject to deductibles
    • Deductibles differ from copays, another type of cost-sharing with which they are often confused
    • Raising your plan's deductible is usually a good way to lower your premium (the amount you pay, usually each month, to maintain coverage)
    • Family plans often have different types of deductibles–and one type in particular could save you lots of money

    The article also includes information about HSA-qualified, high-deductible health plans that give members their very own Health Savings Accounts from which they can pay for qualified medical expenses tax-free.

    WPS encourages individuals and families looking for more valuable health and insurance-related tips and strategies to check out the WPS Learning Center and the WPS Health Center for free articles on controlling costs, preventing illness, making wise health decisions, and other timely topics. For questions or to request a quote for a high-quality individual or family health plan from WPS, please call 888-245-4197 to talk with a friendly representative.


    WPS Health Insurance Announces Hamerlik to Replace Retiring Riordan as President and CEO

    04/09/2012

    Former President of Noridian Administrative Services, LLC Brings 22 Years of Insurance Industry Management Experience to WPS

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurance company, announced today the appointment of veteran insurance leader Michael Hamerlik as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective June 11, 2012. Hamerlik will replace Jim Riordan, who will be retiring after more than 20 years in that role and 39 years with WPS.

    In making the announcement, Riordan said, "We are pleased and excited to welcome Mike to WPS. Mike is an experienced insurance professional with a passion for this industry. He has been heavily involved in strategic direction and diversification over his insurance management career. His experience makes him exceptionally well prepared to help WPS navigate this challenging industry in the years ahead."

    Hamerlik comes to WPS with 22 years of experience in the Health Insurance and Medicare fields. In addition, he was a practicing attorney and admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Prior to his 10 years as CEO at Noridian, Mike served as Executive Vice President, Government and Corporate Operations at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. He started there as Associate General Counsel and held several positions with increasing responsibility during his tenure. Mike is a former member of the North Dakota House of Representatives.

    Hamerlik remarked, "WPS is an impressive organization, unique for its diverse array of insurance and financial products and services, and recognized internationally for its commitment to ethical business practices. I am honored to join WPS and I look forward to working with management and the board of directors to build on the company's foundations to deliver exceptional value to our members and the communities WPS serves."

    Riordan stated, "I am confident that Mike will be a leader devoted to upholding our long-held corporate priorities and reinforcing our commitment to our members, employees, partners, and communities."


    WPS Health Insurance Observes World Health Day with Free Online Resources for Healthy Aging

    03/29/2012

    Good health is important at any age, but staying healthy is especially key in later years. That's because as people age, their bodies start to wear down, making them more prone to illness and injury, and slowing the body's ability to heal. Today, WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and top provider of Wisconsin Medicare supplement plans, recognizes World Health Day–which this year spotlights healthy aging–with free resources available at the senior health page on the WPS Health Center.

    "Growing older is a part of life, and the choices we make today will have a big effect on how healthy we will feel in later years," said Dr. Marvin Wiener, Senior Medical Director at WPS Health Insurance. "Even if we feel young at heart, we need to take good care of our bodies and learn positive ways to deal with stress now, so we can delay or even prevent the physical aches, pains, and problems that often come with age."

    WPS' senior health page offers an array of resources to help Wisconsin seniors stay healthy and learn to manage the special health concerns of older adults. Topics include hearing loss, osteoarthritis, memory loss, sexuality and physical changes, and dozens of others. In addition, helpful interactive tools enable visitors to make better choices about exercise, medications, treatments, tests, and more.

    "Good health is key to a good life at any age," said Dr. Wiener. "Our goal at WPS is to help Wisconsin residents protect their health and financial security so they can live the happy and healthy lives everyone deserves."

    WPS encourages individuals and families looking for more valuable health tips and strategies to check out the WPS Health Center and the WPS Learning Center for free articles on preventing illness, making wise health decisions, and other timely topics. For questions or to request a quote for a high-quality individual or family health plan from WPS, please call 888-245-4197 to talk with a friendly representative.


    WPS Health Insurance Named to Ethisphere's 2012 List of "World's Most Ethical Companies" for Third Year in a Row

    03/15/2012

    Award recognizes exceptional ethical leadership across continents and industries

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurance company serving state, federal, and commercial markets, announced today that it has once again been recognized by the Ethisphere® Institute, the leading business ethics think-tank, as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies for 2012.

    This is the third year in a row that WPS has been honored for promoting the highest of ethical standards. Out of a record number of nominations, WPS secured a hard-earned spot on the World's Most Ethical (WME) list by implementing and maintaining upright business practices and initiatives that are instrumental to the company's success, benefit the community, and raise the bar for ethical standards within the industry. All told, 145 companies made the list this year, and WPS is the only health insurance company in the world to receive this recognition multiple times.

    "WPS Health Insurance is honored to once again be recognized as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies," said Jane Keller-Allen, vice president and corporate compliance officer at WPS. "Every day, our employees work hard to earn the trust, respect, and confidence of everyone we deal with, including our customers, other employees, government officials, competitors, and the communities we serve. It is through their dedication that WPS is able to maintain its strong track record as a responsible company in a challenging industry, economy, and regulatory environment, and I want to thank each and every one of our employees for making WPS a health insurance company that people know they can trust," said Keller-Allen.

    This is the sixth year Ethisphere has published the WME rankings. Ethisphere evaluated nominees utilizing its propriety methodology through in-depth research and multi-step analysis, naming the companies that surpassed their industry peers to this year's list. The 2012 list features companies in more than three dozen industries, including 43 companies headquartered outside the United States. Other 2012 WME winners include such well-known companies as Colgate-Palmolive, Ford, Hasbro, Honeywell, Microsoft, Target, and Xerox.

    "A strong ethical foundation is a competitive advantage, and WPS Health Insurance recognizes the important role corporate responsibility plays in today's business world," said Alex Brigham, executive director of the Ethisphere Institute. "As more and more organizations strive for this honor each year, the inclusion of WPS Health Insurance as a World's Most Ethical Company for 2012 demonstrates its industry-leading commitment to ethics and dedication to integrity."

    The methodology for the WME ranking includes reviewing codes of ethics, litigation and regulatory infraction histories; evaluating the investment in innovation and sustainable business practices; looking at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship; and studying nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers, and customers.

    Read about the methodology and view the complete list of the 2012 World's Most Ethical Companies on the official Ethisphere website.


    WPS Health Insurance Promotes National Nutrition Month with Online Nutrition Tools

    02/29/2012

    Good nutrition is a vital part of staying healthy. Poor food choices and eating habits can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic health conditions. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics established March as National Nutrition Month® to focus attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. To help promote good nutrition, WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, has introduced a healthy eating resource page on the WPS Health Center.

    "No matter what size you are or what you weigh, when you eat healthy foods, your body will reward you with better health," said Dr. Marvin Wiener, Senior Medical Director at WPS Health Insurance. "Weight loss is not the only thing you can gain by eating right. Eating healthy lowers your risk for health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cancer," said Dr. Wiener.

    The healthy eating resource page serves up a variety of information about chronic disease prevention, balanced nutrition, informed eating choices, and more including helpful interactive tools. Each topic is written to motivate and engage people to make better health decisions about what they eat.

    WPS encourages individuals and families looking for more health tips and strategies to check out the WPS Health Center and the WPS Learning Center for free articles on preventing illness, making wise health decisions, health insurance guidance, and other timely topics. For questions or to request a quote for a high-quality individual or family health plan from WPS, please call 888-245-4197 to talk with a friendly representative.


    WPS Health Insurance Offers Free Guide, "Top Tips for Buying Individual Health Insurance"

    02/15/2012

    20-Page Guide Presents 12 Practical Tips to Help Individuals and Families Choose the Right Health Plan for Them

    The right health plan helps people stay healthy and protects their hard-earned savings in the event of a serious injury or illness. The wrong health plan can leave people open to thousands of dollars in unexpected medical costs. That's why the individual health plan experts at WPS, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, have teamed up to bring individuals and families a free guide packed with 12 of the industry's top tips for choosing a health plan that fits their coverage needs and budget.

    "Everyone needs a good health plan," said Jim Baird, vice president of individual sales at WPS Health Insurance. "But choosing the right plan can be difficult. Whether you are self-employed, a small-business employee without group coverage, an early retiree, or between jobs, "Top Tips for Buying Individual Health Insurance" contains valuable tips to help you understand your options and get the most from your health plan."

    This free 20-page guide provides helpful information about:

    • How today's high-deductible plans offer not just savings, but real value
    • Why the most inexpensive plan often isn't the most affordable plan
    • The difference between embedded and non-embedded deductibles - and why one can save thousands of dollars each year
    • Why purchasing separate policies for individual family members can help some families save significantly
    • The benefits of a little-known but fast-growing type of health plan that can lower premiums, save money, and help pay for future medical expenses, tax-free

    Plus, readers will find answers to commonly asked health insurance questions, definitions of common terms, personal stories from WPS plan consultants, and more.

    WPS encourages individuals and families looking for more health insurance tips and strategies to check out the WPS Learning Center for free articles on controlling costs, preventing illness, making wise health decisions, and other timely topics. For questions or to request a quote for a high-quality individual or family plan from WPS, please call 1-866-297-4977 to talk with a friendly representative.


    Preventive Care Services Covered at 100% Under Health Care Reform? WPS Health Insurance Explains

    01/30/2012

    The Affordable Care Act of 2010 brings sweeping changes to health insurance coverage in the United States, including the requirement that new health plans–both group and individual–pay 100% of the costs of certain preventive care services such as mammograms, colonoscopies, blood pressure checks, and childhood immunizations. WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, examines this new requirement and details the specific covered services for adults, women, and children in a new educational article, "Stay Healthy, Save Money with Preventive Services Covered at 100% Under Health Care Reform," available for free from the WPS online Learning Center.

    "Getting regular preventive care is the single most important thing Wisconsin residents can do to protect their health," said Dr. Marvin Wiener, Senior Medical Director at WPS Health Insurance. "Yet today, only about half of all Americans get the preventive care they need. That's unfortunate when you consider that chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year–and they are often preventable."

    Under the Affordable Care Act, all group and individual health plans that take effect on or after September 23, 2010 are required to cover recommended preventive care services without charging a copayment, deductible, or coinsurance, so long as the services are received from an in-network health care provider.

    "Doctors and health care facilities continue to charge for these services. But now it's the health insurance companies that pay the costs," said Dr. Wiener. "Essentially, preventive care becomes "free" for the policyholder, greatly increasing the incentive to take advantage of these services."

    Depending on the policyholder's age, covered preventive care services may include:

    • Blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol tests
    • Many types of cancer screenings, including mammograms and colonoscopies
    • Routine vaccinations against diseases such as measles, polio, influenza (flu), and meningitis
    • Counseling, screening, and vaccines to ensure healthy pregnancies
    • Regular well–baby and well–child visits from birth to age 21

    The full article includes a complete list of preventive care services covered for adults, women, and children, as well as additional details about the new rules.

    WPS encourages individuals and families looking for more health insurance tips and strategies to check out the WPS Learning Center for free articles on controlling costs, preventing illness, making wise health decisions, and other timely topics. For questions or to request a quote for a high–quality individual or family plan from WPS, please call 888-245-4197 to talk with a friendly representative.


    Is COBRA the Best Option for People Between Jobs? WPS Health Insurance Helps Wisconsin Residents Decide

    01/16/2012

    Most Wisconsin residents receive health insurance coverage through their employers' group health plans. But what happens to people who find themselves suddenly unemployed? What options do people have if they decide to change jobs or go into business for themselves? At times like these, it is important for people to understand the facts about their options–including the possibility of continuing coverage under a former employer's group plan through COBRA. WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not–for–profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, examines the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986 (COBRA) and weighs its pros and cons in a new educational article titled, "Health Insurance 101: Is COBRA the Best Option for People Between Jobs?"

    Available for free on the WPS website, the article, Is COBRA the Best Option for People Between Jobs?, discusses important elements of COBRA, including its eligibility requirements, and helps Wisconsin residents decide whether or not this path is the right one for them.

    "Every year, thousands of newly unemployed Wisconsin residents ask the question: "Should I enroll in COBRA or shouldn't I?" " said Jim Baird, vice president of individual sales at WPS Health Insurance. "It's a big decision, and the answer depends on each individual. That's why it's essential for people to know the facts about their health insurance options–so they can effectively decide what's best for themselves and their families."

    One of the most important concerns for individuals and families when considering COBRA is cost. While COBRA grants former employees and qualified dependents access to all of the same health benefits they enjoyed on the employer's health plan, the employer no longer pays anything toward the coverage. Instead, individuals are responsible for paying the full group premium plus an administrative fee of up to 2%. In addition, they still must pay any coinsurance, deductibles, and copayments that the plan normally requires.

    The article also suggests situations in which COBRA may be a good choice–for example, if the person has a pre–existing medical condition or has certain medical needs and when it may be better to consider an individual health plan purchased from a private insurance company.

    WPS encourages individuals and families looking for more health insurance tips and strategies to check out the WPS Learning Center for free articles on controlling costs, preventing illness, making wise health decisions, and other timely topics. For questions or to request a quote for a high–quality individual or family plan from WPS, please call 888-245-4197 to talk with a friendly representative.

    2010-2011


    How to Meet Your Health Goals: WPS Health Insurance Reveals Tips from a Wellness Coach

    12/29/2011

    New wellness article presents smart strategies for staying motivated and achieving your good-health goals

    Whether you'd like to get fit, lose weight, quit smoking, or manage stress, you need a good plan if you are to achieve your health and wellness goals. That's why WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, has teamed up with certified wellness coaches to learn about the challenges people encounter most often, and find out what you can do to overcome those obstacles.

    The result is our new article, "How to Meet Your Health Goals: Tips from a Wellness Coach," which offers specific tips that individuals and families can use to set effective goals, stay motivated for the long haul, and make time for wellness in the face of competing priorities.

    "Healthy living is happy living," said Jeff Hlavacka, senior coordinator of preventive health services at WPS Health Insurance. "When people live healthily, they feel better, they're more active, they're more positive about themselves and the world around them. They also reduce their risk for illness, which means they may spend less on medical bills. But sometimes, it's difficult to stick to our plans for good health. That's where we want to help."

    So we asked Emily Moenck and Sarah Both, two wellness coaches who work with members of WPS group health plans, about the questions they hear most often–and what advice they offer to help people achieve their goals.

    For example, many find it difficult to stay motivated day in and day out, and after a few days or weeks, they abandon their efforts altogether. To these people, Sarah suggests staying positive and celebrating each day's successes, however small.

    "Instead of feeling disheartened on a day when it's a challenge to stay on track, make a point to celebrate the success and sense of accomplishment that comes from making an effort to stick with your plan. See the day as a victory rather than a burden or a setback. In time, you will develop a sense of optimism and resilience that will help sustain and propel your efforts until the behaviors no longer seem so difficult, and they become a welcome and integral part of your new, healthier lifestyle."

    More great suggestions can be found in the full article, "How to Meet Your Health Goals: Tips from a Wellness Coach," which is available for free from the Prevention area of the Learning Center on the WPS Health Insurance website.

    "We hope health care consumers find our latest wellness article to be valuable in helping them start smart and stay motivated to achieve their health and wellness goals," said Hlavacka.

    WPS encourages health care consumers looking for more wellness tips and strategies to check out the WPS Health Center for free, fun, and educational resources such as our health encyclopedia, interactive symptom checker, our Alive & Well newsletter, and more.


    Paging "Dr. Right!" WPS Health Insurance Offers Tips for Finding a Primary Care Doctor

    12/21/2011

    New article helps consumers research, find, and evaluate potential doctors to meet their ideal match

    Everyone needs a good doctor–an experienced and compassionate caretaker who can help protect our good health, and help us return to health after an illness or injury. But finding the right doctor is often easier said than done. WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance, gives practical tips for finding the right primary care doctor in a new article "How to find Dr. Right" available for free in the Working with your Doctor section of our Learning Center.

    "Few things in life are as important as our health," said Dr. Marvin Wiener, senior medical director at WPS Health Insurance. "That's why it's essential to find a skilled and knowledgeable primary care doctor you can trust to be a true partner through every stage of life."

    "How to Find 'Dr. Right'" offers helpful tips that individuals and families can use to research and find a qualified doctor, whether they are looking for a family practitioner, internist, pediatrician, or any other type of doctor. (See the full article, "How to find Dr. Right", for additional types of doctors to help you decide which may be best for you.)

    One of the most important considerations for individuals and families when choosing a new doctor may be whether or not the doctor participates in the individual or family's insurance plan; if not, the out-of-pocket costs could be significantly higher. The article also points to online resources for checking a doctor's credentials, as well as tips for interviewing candidates and evaluating a new doctor at your first visit.

    WPS encourages health care consumers who have questions about finding a doctor, or any other health-insurance-related questions, to call 1-866-297-4977 and talk with a friendly WPS representative today.


    WPS Health Insurance Offers Tips to Help Consumers Make the Most of Every Doctor Visit

    11/29/2011

    Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurance company encourages consumers to take an active role in their health care

    With health care costs on the rise and access to doctors growing more and more limited, it's important to make the most of every appointment. That's why WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance has assembled a helpful list of things health care consumers can do before, during, and after each appointment to maximize the value of every visit.

    "Good health is a partnership," said Dr. Marvin Wiener, Senior Medical Director at WPS Health Insurance. "For best results, we need to take an active role in our care, asking and getting answers to important questions to help us understand our health, and to help our doctors treat us more effectively."

    A few of the tips WPS suggests include...

    Before the visit:

    • Complete a copy of our Self-Care Checklist on the WPS Health Center and take it with you.
    • Know your medical history and your family's medical history. Bring records of any tests, treatments, or vaccines you have had in the past five years.
    • Bring a list of all medicines you are currently taking, including vitamins and herbal supplements.

    During the visit:

    • Tell the doctor your main concern first.
    • Describe your symptoms (use the Self-Care Checklist on the WPS Health Center).
    • Describe your past experiences with the same problem.
    • Write down what's wrong. If you are diagnosed with a new problem, write down an explanation so you know what it is, how to spell it, and what it means for you.

    At the end of the visit, ask:

    • Do I need to return for another appointment?
    • Can I phone in for my test results?
    • What danger signs should I look for?


    WPS Health Insurance Helps Consumers Understand the Ins and Outs of "Provider Networks"

    11/17/2011

    Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurance company aims to educate consumers so they can choose the right plans for their needs

    The term "provider network" is one of the most basic and important concepts for health care consumers to understand. That's why WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance has released a new article explaining provider networks in the context of today's three most popular managed care plans: the health maintenance organization (HMO), preferred provider organization (PPO), and point-of-service (POS) plan.

    "Provider networks are made up of doctors, clinics, hospitals, and other health care professionals that a health plan contracts with to offer medical services to members at reduced costs," said Tom Olson, senior vice president of sales and marketing at WPS Health Insurance. "They are important because the plan you have determines your access to medical providers and how much you will pay out of your own pocket each time you receive care."

    For example, some health plans require members to receive are only from providers within their networks; others allow members to choose any doctor or hospital they wish, but will pay a greater portion of the costs when care is received from providers within the network.


    WPS Health Insurance Prescription Drug Plans Rated Wisconsin's Top Part D Plans by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

    10/20/2011

    WPS MedicareRx Plans (PDP) Are the Only Stand-alone Medicare Part D Plans in the State to Earn 4.5 Stars Out of 5 for Overall Quality

    Medicare Part D plans from WPS Health Insurance have been rated the top MedicareRx plans in the state, earning 4.5 stars out of 5 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)1. The WPS prescription drug plans are the only Part D plans in Wisconsin to receive a rating of 4.5 stars.

    CMS rates health and drug plans annually to ensure that they meet Medicare's quality standards, and encourages Medicare beneficiaries to compare and choose plans based on these ratings, which are available on the Official US Government Medicare website.

    "WPS is proud to offer the top-rated Medicare Part D plans in Wisconsin," said Tom Olson, senior vice president of sales and marketing at WPS Health Insurance. "Every day, we strive to treat our members to the highest-quality coverage, care, and service. This rating reflects our commitment to excellence and motivates us to work even harder with our pharmacy benefits administrator to deliver the outstanding experience our members deserve."

    To determine its ratings, CMS evaluates Part D plans in 17 measures across 4 categories:

        Customer service
        Member complaints, problems getting care, and choosing to leave the plan
        Member experience
        Drug pricing and patient safety

    Based on the plans' performance in these categories, CMS assigns an overall "star" rating to each plan. This makes it easy for seniors to compare plans.

    The WPS MedicareRx plans(PDP) offer Medicare beneficiaries coverage for a wide range of brand-name and generic medications, at competitive monthly premiums, backed by friendly, personal service. In addition, the WPS MedicareRx plan card is welcome at more than 55,000 pharmacies nationwide.

    WPS has served Wisconsin seniors on Medicare since 1966, the year Medicare began. In addition to having the top-rated Medicare Part D plans in Wisconsin, WPS is the leading not-for-profit Part D provider in the state, serving more than 25,000 enrollees2, and is home to Wisconsin's #1-selling Medicare supplement plan, the WPS Medicare Companion3

    1 Medicare.gov, 10/2011. Plan performance star ratings are assessed each year and may change from one year to the next.
    2 CMS enrollment data, 5/2011.
    3 Based on sales data submitted by insurers to the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, 2010. Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation (WPS Health Insurance) is a Medicare-approved Part D sponsor.


    WPS Health Insurance Offers Seniors Highly Rated, Flexible and Affordable Plans in 2012

    10/14/2011

    With Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period underway, WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and creator of the state's top-selling Medicare supplement plan1, continues to offer Wisconsin seniors affordable access to some of the state's most popular and highly rated WPS Health Insurance Medicare Part D plans for 2012.

    "As the cost of prescription drugs continues to rise, Wisconsin seniors need flexible and affordable protection they can depend on," said Tom Olson, senior vice president of sales and marketing at WPS Health Insurance. "WPS MedicareRx Plans bring seniors the coverage they need and the peace of mind they deserve. That's why our plans are preferred by more than 25,000 seniors statewide–making WPS the largest not-for-profit Medicare Part D provider in the state." 2

    Each year, thousands of seniors choose WPS MedicareRx Plans because these plans:

    • Cover a wide range of brand-name and generic medications
    • Offer competitive monthly premiums and stable rates; simple copays; and the choice of a no-deductible plan
    • Provide coverage for generic drugs through the Medicare coverage gap, or "donut hole"
    • Are welcome at more than 55,000 pharmacies nationwide

    In addition, WPS MedicareRx Plans are some of the top-rated prescription drug plans in the state, earning 4.5 stars out of 5 from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. 3

    "Medicare Part D coverage is important for all Medicare beneficiaries–even seniors who don't take prescription medications today," said Olson. "That's because most people literally cannot afford to be caught off-guard if their health should suddenly change."

    During Medicare's AEP, all Wisconsin seniors are eligible for WPS MedicareRx plans, regardless of income level or assets, pre-existing conditions, or current prescription expenses. But it is critical for Medicare beneficiaries who are currently enrolled in a plan to make their selections now if they wish to change their coverage for 2012, because once the AEP ends on December 7, seniors will be unable to switch plans until January 2013 unless they qualify for a special enrollment period.

    Backed by first-rate customer service and award-winning ethics.

    WPS MedicareRx plans are backed by friendly and professional service that has become a company hallmark. An enthusiastic 98% of WPS Medicare supplement customers say they would recommend WPS to a friend or family member 4, and WPS Part D members receive the same level of attentive care.

    WPS' commitment to ethical service has earned the company recognition worldwide. In 2010 and 2011, WPS was named one of the "world's most ethical companies" by the international Ethisphere Institute 5. This award recognizes companies that demonstrate real and sustained ethical leadership within their industries, and WPS is the only health insurance company in the world to receive this distinction.

    Forty-five years of experience serving seniors on Medicare.

    WPS has served seniors on Medicare since Medicare began in 1966. Not only is WPS the leading not-for-profit Part D provider in the state2, but it is also home to Wisconsin's #1-selling Medicare supplement plan,1 the WPS Medicare Companion, which today helps nearly 40,000 Medicare beneficiaries fill the gaps in Medicare coverage at competitive premiums.

    1 Based on sales data submitted by insurers to the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, 2010.
    2 CMS enrollment data, 8/2011.
    3 Medicare.gov, 10/2011.
    4 WPS Customer Satisfaction Survey, 2011.
    5 2010 & 2011 World's Most Ethical Companies Ranking, Ethisphere Institute. Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation (WPS Health Insurance) is a Medicare-approved Part D sponsor.


    What is an HSA-qualified Health Plan? WPS Insurance Explains

    09/29/2011

    Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurance company aims to help consumers choose the right health plan for their needs

    As the health care landscape continues to change and more and more consumers begin to explore their individual health insurance options, the health savings account (HSA) is gaining in popularity. Today, WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable individual health insurance, family health insurance, and group health insurance, released a new entry in its Learning Center, titled "What is an HSA-qualified Health Plan and How Can It Benefit Me?" which contains valuable information to help consumers learn more about this unique health plan option.

    To be eligible for an HSA, consumers must first have a special type of health insurance called an HSA-qualified high-deductible health plan (HDHP). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determines rules for HSA-qualification including minimum and maximum deductible amounts and out-of-pocket limits. They put out a publication each year detailing current rules and regulations on the Internal Revenue Service website.

    HSA-qualified HDHP plans typically offer lower monthly premiums than traditional plans. With this type of plan, policyholders can take the money they save on premiums and invest it in their HSAs, where it is available to pay for qualified medical expenses, from deductibles and copays to expenses their plans don't even cover, such as laser vision correction.

    HSA-qualified HDHPs can be a good choice for people interested in trading higher out-of-pocket costs for lower premiums, people who want more control over their health care spending, those interested in the tax benefits of an HSA, and anyone interested in using a personal savings account to pay for qualified medical expenses.

    "We hope health care consumers find our article titled "Health Insurance 101: What is an HSA-qualified Health Plan and How Can It Benefit Me?" valuable in helping them to learn more about this increasingly popular health plan option, and in deciding whether an HSA-qualified, high-deductible plan is right for them," said Olson.

    WPS encourages health care consumers who have questions about health savings accounts, or any other health insurance related questions, to call 888-245-4197 and talk with a friendly WPS representative today.


    WPS Health Insurance Offers Free Guide Detailing Medicare Changes for 2012

    09/19/2011

    "Medicare Changes 2012: Five Things You Need to Know" explains important program changes and offers tips to help seniors make wise coverage decisions

    Medicare keeps on changing: benefits, costs, and even the deadlines for signing up or switching plans. As this year's Annual Enrollment Period approaches, it's important that Wisconsin residents have the information they need to make better, more informed decisions about protecting their health and financial security. That's why WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare supplement plans, has released a new, free educational resource aimed at helping seniors stay up to date on this year's changes to Medicare.

    Available today for free download from the WPS website, "Medicare Changes 2012: Five Things You Need to Know" details important changes for the coming year, offers tips to help seniors find dependable coverage, and includes a list of Medicare-related resources that seniors can look to for more information.

    "This free guide is an important resource for anyone who is eligible for Medicare in 2012," said Jim Baird, vice president of individual sales at WPS Health Insurance. "Readers will learn about Medicare's new Annual Enrollment Period, which takes place October 15 through December 7 this year—nearly a full month earlier than previous years. They'll learn about a new Special Election Period for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans that are rated five stars by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). And they'll see the latest changes made to Part D standard benefits."

    With Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period fast approaching, now is the time for seniors to learn all they can about the changes to Medicare and their own specific health and drug plans, so they can make wise choices and be sure to get the coverage they need.

    Forty-five years of experience serving seniors on Medicare.

    WPS has served seniors on Medicare since the program began in 1966. Today, the company's Medicare supplement plan, the WPS Medicare Companion, is the #1 choice of Wisconsin seniors, outselling all other supplements in the state*. In addition, more than 25,000 seniors have enrolled in the company's Medicare Part D plans—making WPS the largest not-for-profit Part D plan provider in Wisconsin**. WPS encourages seniors who have Medicare-specific questions to visit the Official US Government Medicare website or call 1 800 MEDICARE (800-633-4227).


    WPS Health Insurance Reminds Seniors That Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) Begins and Ends Earlier This Year

    08/31/2011

    With earlier AEP start dates, people on Medicare must pay particular attention this year so they don't miss their opportunity to change plans.

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of Medicare Part D plans and Medicare supplement plans, reminds Medicare beneficiaries that Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) begins October 15 and ends December 7 this year, a full month earlier than in prior years.

    The shift in dates is the result of recent health care reform through the Affordable Care Act of 2010. "It is critical for seniors who are currently enrolled in a plan to make their enrollment selections during this new AEP if they wish to change their coverage for 2012," said Olson.

    As a result of the change to AEP dates, seniors enrolled in MA plans, MA-PDs (Medicare Advantage plans that provide coverage for prescription drugs), and PDPs should receive their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) documents for contract year 2012 by September 30, 2011. WPS encourages seniors to read their ANOCs carefully to make sure their current plans will meet their health and budget requirements in 2012.

    "Medicare drug plans change every year: the benefits can change, costs can change, entire plans can be terminated and there can be real consequences for seniors who don't make adjustments during the AEP. By reviewing their Annual Notice of Change documents and comparison-shopping with other plans, Wisconsin seniors can make better, more informed and cost-effective choices."

    Forty-five years of experience serving seniors on Medicare.

    WPS has served seniors on Medicare since the program began in 1966. Today, the company's Medicare supplement plan, the WPS Medicare Companion, is the #1 choice of Wisconsin seniors, outselling all other supplements in the state.1 In addition, more than 25,000 seniors have enrolled in the company's Medicare Part D plans–making WPS the largest not-for-profit Part D plan provider in Wisconsin2.

    WPS encourages seniors who have Medicare-specific questions to visit the Official US Government Medicare website or call 1 800 MEDICARE (800-633-4227).

    1 Based on sales data submitted by insurers to the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, 2010.
    2 CMS enrollment data, 5/2011.


    WPS Health Insurance Reminds Medicare Beneficiaries to Review Their Coverage Options for 2012

    08/19/2011

    Annual changes to Medicare Part D plans mean seniors should be vigilant to ensure that they continue to receive high-quality coverage from a stable and reliable source

    In 2010, only 1 in 5 Medicare beneficiaries over the age of 65 planned to review their Medicare coverage options for 20111. Why is this statistic troubling? Because Medicare health plans change every year. Benefits can change, costs can change, entire plans can disappear–and there can be real consequences for seniors who don't stay informed. WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of Medicare supplement insurance plans and Medicare Part D plans, reminds Medicare beneficiaries to review their prescription drug coverage options during Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).

    "Medicare's AEP is the time when seniors may change Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan (PDP), change their Part D prescription drug plans, or return to Original Medicare," said Jim Baird, Vice President of Individual Sales at WPS Health Insurance. "This fall, Medicare's AEP will begin and end almost a full month earlier than previous years. During this time, it is crucial that seniors review their coverage and make sure their current plan still meets their needs."

    In particular, seniors should take time to review their Annual Notice of Change, the document sent by insurance companies that explains which benefits have changed, and how they have changed, for the upcoming plan year. This year, notices are due to arrive by September 30. Notices will detail changes to the plan, such as changes in the premium, copays, drug formulary (for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans), tiers and restrictions, and will compare the benefits in 2012 with those in 2011. With these updates in mind, seniors can shop around and compare plans to see if their current coverage still offers sufficient protection at a competitive price.

    Sometimes, seniors don't realize their plan is inadequate until their health begins to decline. "At that point, it can be very difficult to switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to a high-quality Medicare supplement plan and Medicare Part D plan that will cover a greater portion of their medical costs. So look for a plan that will give you the protection you need, both today and in the unpredictable future," concludes Baird.

    Forty-five years of experience serving seniors on Medicare.

    WPS has served seniors on Medicare since the program began in 1966. Today, the company's Medicare supplement plan, the WPS Medicare Companion, is the #1 choice of Wisconsin seniors, outselling all other supplements in the state2. In addition, more than 25,000 seniors have enrolled in the company's Medicare Part D plans–making WPS the largest not-for-profit Part D plan provider in Wisconsin3.

    WPS encourages seniors who have Medicare-specific questions to visit the Official US Government Medicare website or call 1 800 MEDICARE (800-633-4227).

    1 PlanPrescriber, Inc., Dec. 2010.
    2 Based on sales data submitted by insurers to the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, 2010.
    3 CMS enrollment data, 5/2011.


    WPS Health Insurance to Sponsor National Multiple Sclerosis Society's "Bike MS: Toyota Best Dam Bike Ride" 2011

    07/29/2011

    Two-day fundraiser is expected to draw nearly 2,000 for a scenic three-county trek from Milwaukee to the WPS campus in Madison

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable individual health insurance, Medicare supplement plans, and group health insurance, is proud to sponsor the National Multiple Sclerosis Society-Wisconsin Chapter's Bike MS: TOYOTA Best Dam Bike Ride.

    The two-day fundraiser takes place Saturday and Sunday, August 6–7. This year's event will feature a three-county ride from Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee to the WPS Health Insurance campus in Madison. Proceeds will support critical MS research and provide much-needed programs for Wisconsin residents with MS and their families.

    Each year, Bike MS: TOYOTA Best Dam Bike Ride brings nearly 2,000 cyclists, family members, friends, and volunteers together to move toward a cure for MS–a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. This year, cyclists can choose to ride 62.5, 75, or 100 miles each day, and their efforts help to make an extraordinary difference in the lives of more than 10,000 children, women, and men in Wisconsin who live with MS.

    In addition to sponsoring the event, WPS will be represented by its very own cycling team. "WPS Spokes Crew" is led by co-captains Paul Brazeau and Kerri Zastrow, and includes team members Douglas Peters and Kevin Zalnis. What's more, WPS employees will volunteer to work a rest stop on Saturday and the finish-line festivities at WPS on Sunday.

    "Thank you to WPS Health Insurance for its partnering sponsorship," said Colleen Kalt, president and CEO of the National MS Society-Wisconsin Chapter. "WPS is one of Wisconsin's best; their corporate partnership and community leadership makes Wisconsin a great place to live, work, and ride! Together, we will bring an end to multiple sclerosis. With every mile our bikers ride, we move that much closer to a cure."

    In support of Bike MS: TOYOTA Best Dam Bike Ride participants, the Society provides frequent, fully stocked rest stops, mechanical and medical support, lodging, meals and entertainment, a finish-line celebration, transportation, and more. The fee to enter is $40. Participants must pledge a minimum of $300 to receive their rider numbers, and they may continue to fundraise and be eligible for incentives until September 16.

    This is the first year WPS has sponsored Bike MS: TOYOTA Best Dam Bike Ride. An active supporter of local community organizations, WPS has also partnered with United Way, The Salvation Army, Komen Madison Race for the Cure, VSA of Wisconsin, and many others.

    For more information about Wisconsin's Bike MS: Best Dam Bike Ride, please visit the Wisconsin's Bike MS: Best Dam Bike Ride website.

    About the National MS Society

    The National MS Society is a collective of passionate people dedicated to achieving a world free of multiple sclerosis. The Society funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, facilitates professional education, and provides programs and services that help people with MS and their families move their lives forward. The Wisconsin Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society proudly serves more than 10,000 residents diagnosed with MS, and those who love and care for them.


    Packers, WPS Health Insurance Present Operation Fan Mail for 2011

    07/12/2012

    Program Recognizes Military Families On Lambeau Field In Pregame

    Operation Fan Mail, the program that recognizes military families at each Packers home game, will mark its fifth season in 2011, and the third year it has been presented by WPS Health Insurance.

    The program, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2011 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 38 families have been recognized during the past four seasons.

    "Operation Fan Mail is one of our most meaningful gameday programs," said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. "Military families make tremendous sacrifices on behalf of all of us, and with WPS Health Insurance we’re proud to recognize them in Lambeau Field."

    To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular family should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted online at the official Packers Operation Fan Mail website.

    Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.

    In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families will receive four tickets to the game and a $150 Packers Pro Shop gift card from WPS.


    WPS Health Insurance Aims to Help Consumers Learn the Language of Health Insurance

    06/30/2011

    New article from Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer demystifies 33 common industry terms

    No doubt about it, the language of health insurance can be hard to understand. Yet every day, it's becoming more and more important for health care consumers to have at least a basic knowledge of the industry's terminology. That's why WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable individual health insurance and group health insurance, has assembled a helpful list of plain-English definitions for 33 of the most commonly used health insurance terms.

    Some of the terms WPS explains include:

    Copayment

    one of the ways people share in their medical costs. The patient pays a flat fee for certain medical expenses (e.g., $10 for every visit to the doctor), while their insurance company pays the rest.

    Deductible

    the amount of money someone must pay each year to cover medical expenses before their insurance policy starts paying.

    Explanation of benefits

    the health insurance company's written explanation of how a medical claim was paid. It contains detailed information about what the company paid and what portion of the costs the individual is responsible for.

    Medicare supplement plans

    plans offered by private insurance companies to help fill the "gaps" in Medicare coverage.

    Network

    the group of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that insurance companies contract with to provide services at discounted rates. Consumers will generally pay less for services received from providers in network.

    Rider

    coverage options that enable people to expand their basic insurance plan for an additional premium. A common example is a maternity rider.

    Underwriting

    the process by which health insurance companies determine whether to extend coverage to an applicant and/or set the policy's premium.

    Twenty-six more terms are explained in the full article, "Health Insurance 101: Health Insurance Terms and Definitions," which is available for free in the Learning Center on the WPS Health Insurance website.

    WPS encourages health care consumers who have questions about these terms, their own coverage, or any other health-insurance-related questions, to call 888-245-4197 and talk with a friendly WPS representative today.


    WPS Health Insurance Named One of "World's Most Ethical Companies" for the Second Year in a Row

    03/16/2011

    Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurance company is also the world's only health insurance company to earn this distinction

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of affordable group and individual health insurance has once again been recognized by the Ethisphere Institute as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. This is the fifth year Ethisphere, an international think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement, and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption, and sustainability, has published the WME rankings, which appear in Ethisphere Magazine's Q1 issue. Ethisphere reviewed thousands of nominations from companies around the globe. From these, it selected 110 honorees, including WPS—the only health insurance company in the world to receive this prestigious award.

    This special designation is reserved for organizations that demonstrate outstanding commitment to ethical leadership, compliance practices, and corporate social responsibility. Securing a place on the 2011 World's Most Ethical Companies list is a significant achievement as this year was exceptionally competitive, with a record number of nominations and applications.

    "Ethics and integrity are not only integral to the success of our business—they are at the core of our corporate values," said Riordan. "Our employees' commitment to the highest possible ethical standards has made it possible for WPS to foster an excellent reputation as an ethical company recognized by experts as among the best in the world."

    Through in-depth research and a multi-step analysis, Ethisphere reviewed thousands of companies and selected 110 that surpassed their industry peers to appear on this year's list of World's Most Ethical Companies. The 2011 list features companies in 38 industries, including 43 companies headquartered outside the United States.

    Other 2011 WME winners include such well-known international companies as American Express, eBay, Ford Motor Company, Adidas, Starbucks, PepsiCo, and Xerox Corporation.

    "As companies strive to maintain a competitive advantage, good ethics translate into better business, and better business means better bottom lines. WPS Health Insurance recognizes the important role that principled practices play in brand reputation, which ultimately is the most valuable asset for a corporation," said Alex Brigham, executive director of the Ethisphere Institute. "Each year, the competition gets more intense for the World's Most Ethical Companies and this year was no exception, with a record number of organizations vying for this distinguished honor. Ethisphere congratulates WPS Health Insurance on being one of the World's Most Ethical Companies for 2011."

    The methodology for the WME ranking includes reviewing codes of ethics, litigation and regulatory infraction histories; evaluating the investment in innovation and sustainable business practices; looking at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship; and studying nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers, and customers.

    Read about the methodology and view the complete list of the 2011 World's Most Ethical Companies.


    WPS Health Insurance Named as One of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" in 2010

    03/25/2010

    Award Recognizes Exceptional Ethical Leadership Actively Upheld within Various Industries Thousands of Companies Evaluated for 2010 Rankings WPS only health insurance company in the world to be recognized<

    WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer, has been recognized by the Ethisphere Institute as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies for 2010. Out of a record number of nominations for the award, WPS Health Insurance (Wisconsin Physicians Service) secured a hard-earned spot on the list by going the extra mile, implementing upright business practices and initiatives that are instrumental to the company's success, benefit the community, and raise the bar for ethical standards within the industry. WPS is the only health insurance company in the world to receive this prestigious award.

    "We are honored to be recognized with a place on the 2010 World's Most Ethical Companies list," said Jim Riordan, President and Chief Executive Officer, WPS. "In our industry, having high ethical standards is critical to success. WPS serves over 200,000 members in Wisconsin, as well as millions of seniors on Medicare and military families across the country and around the world. Our customers, partners, and employees know that WPS is a company they can trust to do the right thing."

    This is the fourth year Ethisphere, a think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability, has published the WME rankings, which appear in Ethisphere Magazine's Q1 issue.

    Through in-depth research and a multi-step analysis, Ethisphere reviewed thousands of nominations from companies in over 100 countries and 36 industries in order to determine the winners.

    A sampling of other winners include Aflac, American Express, Campbell Soup, Ford Motor Company, General Electric, Google, L'Oréal, Nike, PepsiCo, Starbucks, T-Mobile USA, UPS, Whole Foods Market and Xerox.

    Brigham added, "Compliance or ethics failures add up to more than fees, fines and penalties. The leadership distraction and turnover, forced alteration of a working profit model and heightened scrutiny that result show: good ethics means better business."

    The methodology for the WME ranking includes reviewing codes of ethics, litigation and regulatory infraction histories; evaluating the investment in innovation and sustainable business practices; looking at activities designed to improve corporate citizenship; and studying nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers and customers.

    Read about the methodology and view the complete list of the 2010 World's Most Ethical Companies on the Official Ethisphere website.

    About Ethisphere Institute

    The research-based Ethisphere Institute is a leading international think tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti corruption and sustainability. The Institute's associated membership group, the Ethisphere Council, is a forum for business ethics that includes over 200 leading corporations, universities and institutions. The Ethisphere Council is dedicated to the development and advancement of individuals on its membership council through increased efficiency, innovation, tools, mentoring, advice, and unique career opportunities. Ethisphere magazine, which publishes the globally recognized World's Most Ethical Companies Ranking™, is the quarterly publication of the Institute. More information on the Ethisphere Institute, including ranking projects and membership, can be found at www.ethisphere.com.


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