CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.-Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee said earlier this month that it has purchased a 10% stake in USAble Life, a life insurance company based in Little Rock, Ark., to improve the health plan's ability to provide companies with one-stop shopping for employee benefits. The deal is the first time the company has acquired a stake in a non-health insurer, a spokesman said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Joan Harp, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of the Tennessee Blues, has joined the board of USAble Life as part of the transaction. USAble is a 26-year-old company with $10.4 billion in insurance products in the market.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.-The University of North Carolina Health Care System has hired Navigant Consulting to prepare a report on how the system can boost revenue and cut costs at its two hospitals and in its group practice and academic side. UNC said the hospital system broke even in fiscal 2004, but capital projects and salaries for hard-to-recruit professionals are pressing needs that require the system to generate a positive margin. The system has budgeted for a 1.5% margin in fiscal 2005, which ends June 30. Navigant's experience working with academic medical centers will help the system "quickly determine our course of action for fiscal health," said William Roper, who became chief executive officer of the health system and dean of the UNC School of Medicine earlier this year.