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Craig McEwen, Published January 09 2009

Noridian gets $277 million, five-year Medicare contract; will add about 100 new jobs at Fargo headquarters

Fargo-based Noridian Administrative Services has been awarded a $277 million, five-year Medicare contract that will add jobs in Fargo and other North Dakota cities.

Noridian will provide Medicare Part A and Part B insurance claim administration services in Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin, said Kaylin Frappier, Noridian’s senior vice president of Medicare operations.

The contract will result in about 100 new jobs at Noridian’s Fargo headquarters, Frappier said.

“We have other offices in North Dakota that will be expanding as well,” he said.

The new contract from the U.S. Department of Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will also provide stability, Frappier said.

“That’s a big part of the economic picture right now,” he said. “It does financially put us in a stronger position and allows us to spread our costs over a larger volume.”

In May 2008, Noridian was denied a $150 million, five-year contract to provide the same services to Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Idaho.

Noridian protested the denial and filed a new bid. The company continues to service those contracts while it awaits a final CMS ruling later this year, Frappier said.

Noridian employee numbers dropped from 1,129 to 1,022 in the past eight months after it lost some of its bids to process claims, Frappier said.

“Some of the states we had were awarded to other contractors,” he said. “With that, obviously, our claim volume and the corresponding number of employees have been reduced.”

The new contract will definitely beef up Noridian staffing levels, Frappier said.

“It’s a very exciting win for us,” he said. “It’s good for not only the organization of Noridian but also the state of North Dakota.”

Securing the new contract is timely because of recent layoffs in the local job market, said Brian Walters, president of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp.

“It’s a nice injection of contract funding that will pump into the payroll of Fargo-Moorhead,” he said. “It’s obviously good for the company and good for the community.”

Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502