HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwire - Jul 18, 2011) - HealthSpring, a leading Medicare Advantage plan, and WellMed Networks Inc. (WNI), the contracting entity for WellMed Medical Management, today announced a joint partnership to extend access to WellMed healthcare services to beneficiaries in Hidalgo County of the Rio Grande Valley. WellMed is a diversified healthcare company and health plan provider serving more than 90,000 patients and plan members, primarily Medicare-eligible seniors.

"WellMed and HealthSpring are like-minded in our mission to provide Medicare-eligible patients with high quality, proactive patient care with a distinct focus on prevention," said Dr. Carlos Hernandez, President of WellMed Medical Group. "Working together will greatly strengthen our ability to change the face of healthcare delivery for seniors in Texas."

The partnership means that independent physicians served by WellMed Medical Management -- and providers at WellMed Medical Group clinics -- in Hidalgo County will accept HealthSpring plan members.

WNI previously contracted under exclusive agreements with healthcare payers in Hidalgo County, but is now expanding its healthcare delivery system to include members associated with other payers.

"We're pleased to join together with industry leader WellMed to offer enhanced healthcare options to our members in Hidalgo County," said Jay L. Hurt, Division President for HealthSpring Life & Health in Texas. "HealthSpring is committed to providing our members access to the most comprehensive Medicare benefits, and this partnership will help us meet that objective for our members in these markets."

The partnership between WellMed and HealthSpring is planned for launch in Fall 2011.

Current HealthSpring members interested in learning more about WellMed may call HealthSpring Customer Service at 1-800-668-3813 and Medicare-eligible seniors interested in learning more about WellMed may call the HealthSpring Sales Department at 1-800-846-2098. Providers interested in learning more about WellMed may call toll-free at 1-888-781-9355, ext. 3010 or e-mail an inquiry to recruiting@wellmed.net.

About WellMed
WellMed Medical Management Inc. is a diversified healthcare company serving more than 90,000 patients in Texas and Florida. WellMed is an industry leader in medical risk management, highly effective disease management and chronic care programs, healthcare delivery services, and more. To learn more, visit www.wellmedmedicalgroup.com.

About HealthSpring
HealthSpring is based in Nashville, Tenn., and is one of the country's largest Medicare Advantage coordinated care plans. HealthSpring currently owns and operates Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, D.C. HealthSpring also offers a national stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan. For more information, visit www.healthspring.com. Media information is available at HealthSpring's press site: http://press.healthspring.com.