WPS News



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

11/26/2015

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

9/29/2015

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 is part of contract award for TRICARE 2017 East Region

9/24/2015

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

8/6/2015

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

7/27/2015

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

6/9/2015

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

5/1/2015

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

4/13/2015

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

3/13/2015

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

3/9/2015

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

1/12/2015

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.