WHEELING — Construction of The Health Plan’s new headquarters won’t be complete for almost a year, but 70 of its employees will relocate to Wheeling on Jan. 1 to accommodate faster-than-expected growth.
The business’s customer support, network management and workers’ compensation employer services departments will occupy a recently renovated section of the Horne’s building, which sits right beside the future site of its headquarters in the 1100 block of Main and Market streets.
Alex Weld, social media specialist for The Health Plan, said the home is a permanent one for these workers, as the company has outpaced growth expectations and added more than 150 staff members since January.
She said this is partly due to an increase in The Health Plan’s share of Medicare and Medicaid clients in West Virginia, as well as a bump in its self-funded health care accounts nationwide.
In May, CEO James Pennington said the state’s 2014 decision to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act was a way for the business to seize some additional momentum.
The Bureau of Medical Services, a state agency responsible for administering West Virginia’s Medicaid program, has since outsourced many administrative duties to management care organizations to reduce costs and take advantage of superior business infrastructure.
The Health Plan is a community health organization with an extensive health care provider network of over 650,000 regional and national companies.
Since 1979, it has offered a line of managed care products and services.
Near the end of 2017, The Health Plan will officially move from its current St. Clairsville residence into the four-story, 53,000 square foot building under construction in Wheeling at an estimated cost of $16 million.
The company has also committed to updating the facade of the Horne’s building, so its appearance matches that of the new facility.
The announcement of the new headquarters in December sparked local excitement, as the decision represented the first time in nearly 30 years a private company decided to build in downtown Wheeling.
Since then, a number of infrastructure upgrades have been announced by city of Wheeling officials, which will complement the development.
These include extensive repaving of Main and Market streets, along with new sidewalks and streetscaping.
For the company, relocating has been branded as a homecoming because the business was founded in West Virginia.
“We’re excited for this (immediate) move because it establishes us in Wheeling even sooner than we first expected,” Pennington said in a press release.