About 28,000 current and former Maine state employees and their dependents will be switching health insurance companies on July 1.

The state has awarded Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield a contract to administer its employee health insurance plan after using Aetna as its administrator since July 2012. The Anthem contract, valued at roughly $5.5 million per year, has an initial term of three years with the option for up to three additional one-year renewals.

The decision is the result of a competitive bidding process, officials said. Anthem had been the state’s health insurance administrator before Aetna won the contract five years ago.

Under the new plan, insurance premiums will increase by roughly 3 percent for both employees and the state. For full-time employees with single coverage, premium increases will range from 62 cents to $1.87 per two-week pay period, depending on their salary. The state’s costs will increase by an average of $11 per employee per pay period.

The increase in premiums is unrelated to the switch to Anthem, said Ramona Welton, president of the Maine State Employees Association. The state employee health insurance program is a self-insured plan with terms designated by the state, she said, and the insurance company merely acts as the plan’s administrator.

“They’re not getting insurance from Anthem,” Welton said.

The self-insured plan covers all state government employees, as well as employees of the Maine Turnpike Authority, MainePERS and Maine Community College System and their covered spouses, domestic partners and children. It also covers retirees of the state who are not eligible for Medicare.

“We’re very pleased and proud to again be the administrator of health benefits for the state of Maine’s employees and families,” said Dan Corcoran, Anthem’s president in Maine. “We have worked to differentiate ourselves as a leader in this market over the last several years by focusing on implementing innovative reimbursement arrangements and investing in primary care physicians. Also, with over 800 employees based in Maine, we have a strong local presence and therefore recognize the health care challenges facing the state.”

In addition to choosing Anthem as plan administrator, the state selected Express Scripts Inc. as its pharmacy benefit manager and protected against large claims by choosing Sun Life as its stop-loss insurer, said David Heidrich Jr., spokesman for the state Department of Administrative and Financial Services. In the past, those services have been handled by the plan administrator, but this time the state decided to break them out into separate contracts, he said.

Heidrich said three companies bid for the plan administrator contract in response to a request for proposals: Anthem, Aetna and Harvard Pilgrim.

A team reviewed the bids and scored each of them on a scale of up to 90 points, he said. Anthem received 80.61 points, Aetna received 75 points, and Harvard Pilgrim received 48.95 points.

Corcoran said the transition to Anthem should be relatively easy for state employees, since the company has been their provider in the past.

“Anthem previously administered the State Employee Health Insurance Program, so we have a keen understanding of the state’s needs, which will allow for a seamless transition for the state and its employees,” he said. “We’re excited and very much looking forward to serving the state of Maine again.”

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