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Wipro Makes Fresh Start in U.S. Healthcare Payer BPS with HealthPlan Services Acquisition

Wipro announced yesterday it is to acquire Tampa-based HealthPlan Services (HPS) from Water Street Healthcare Partners for $460m, including a $20m deferred consideration.

HPS' 2015 revenues were $223m. It has achieved a CAAGR of 38% in the last three years, driven both from adding new healthcare payers and from the increase in individuals or groups eligible for first-time insurance coverage due to the ACA initiations; the company now supports ~20% of Individual health plans in the U.S.

The acquisition will be a major boost to Wipro’s ambitions in healthcare and specifically healthcare payer BPS, an area where the company had made modest at best progress since its acquisition of Infocrossing, and the Infocrossing Healthcare Services, Inc. unit in 2007. Wipro Infocrossing currently has healthcare payer BPS contracts with two State Medicaid agencies, including Missouri’s Department of Social Services.

The acquisition of HPS will enable Wipro to move beyond support for the Over 65 market in the form of Medicaid and Medicare, and to address the growing market for individual plans in the Under 65 B2C market. It will provide Wipro with a more modern building block around which to position its healthcare payer BPS business. Such is the importance attached to this building block by Wipro that it is conducting a reverse integration of its healthcare & life sciences business into HPS, with the overall unit being led by HPS' President and CEO Jeff W. Bak.

The Individual policy market is currently a small part of the overall health plan policy base, but it is one that has been showing double-digit growth with the ongoing extension of health insurance coverage in the U.S. Looking at the future dynamics of this market, Wipro expects that the Individual plan member base will continue to grow for the next three years as health insurance coverage of the population continues to expand and will then stabilize. By this point, Wipro perceives that there will be a secondary growth driver for exchanges with health insurance exchange markets becoming attractive to employers as a mechanism for providing health plans to certain groups of employees such as part-time staff.

HPS currently serves ~35 healthcare payers, with its top ten clients accounting for ~80% of its revenues. Its client list includes Ameritas, Allstate, Assurant Health, Beazley, Cigna, Foresters, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, Starmark, UnitedHealthOne, unum, and vsp. HPS’ niche is in assisting healthcare payers to enter and control their costs around state-based and Federal exchanges; it is focused on the ‘individual’/B2C health plan market. HPS has a platform to support healthcare payers across the Individual policy lifecycle and views the typical journey with a healthcare payer in four steps:

  • Helping them to connect with private & public exchanges (using its ExchangeLink platform)
  • Assisting them in policy administration & member services (ServiceLink platform)
  • Helping them with member acquisition through its licensed agents (SalesLink)
  • Assisting them in member retention & loyalty (LoyaltyLink).

With these services, HPS can connect healthcare payers to 40 public exchanges and 150 private health insurance exchanges; and the HPS Insurance Agency connects to a network of ~100k nsurance agents. HPS aims to help payers move beyond medical insurance and offer servicing around digital products in other areas such as dental insurance and even life insurance.

HPS has ~2k employees, all onshore U.S. It offers both SaaS and BPaaS services. Clearly the BPaaS element is extremely attractive to Wipro and in line with its strategy for developing its BPS service. HPS will also give Wipro access to a wider client base among commercial healthcare payers and an opportunity to cross-sell wider services such as offshore-centric claims processing while adding credibility to the company’s onshore presence in the U.S. The non-FTE pricing models used by HPS (such as per member per month for member servicing and on a share of premium/commission for new business) will also be attractive to Wipro

Overall, this acquisition will give Wipro both a leadership position in BPS in the Individual healthcare payer market and also the potential for a fresh start in healthcare payer BPS overall, including opportunities to leverage its services around digital and analytics and to start to move into complementary areas such as population health management, patient monitoring, and ACO support. Possible synergies with other analytics offerings should not be excluded, such as with Wipro’s Marvel CX, in order to further enhance customer experience.

Wipro is on a bit of an acquisition spree at the moment: this will be its fourth acquisition so far in FY 16, following those of:

  • Designit, which has enhanced the capabilities of Wipro Digital (part of the Change strategy)
  • cellent AG, bringing in scale and local relationships in the key European market of Germany
  • Viteos Group, bring in BPaaS capabilities in the financial services sector.

Including HPS, Wipro will be making an overall investment of ~$750m in these acquisitions, all of which are strategic, rather than bolt-on, acquisitions. Like Viteos, HPS will afford Wipro the opportunity to build a ​BPaaS business in one of its principal target sectors.

Footnote: NelsonHall prediction was spot on!

In our January blog on the announcement of the appointment of Abid Neemuchwala as the new Wipro CEO (see here), we said an acquisition like this was highly likely. And in our December 2015 Key Vendor Assessment on Wipro (which will be updated later this week) NelsonHall anticipated that the acquisition spree in FY16 was not finished with Viteos.

If you would like to know more about NelsonHall's extensive coverage of Wipro in our Key Vendor Assessment or any of our IT Services or BPS programs, please contact [email protected]

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