Scibal 09.21

Working at Scibal Associates' new headquarters in Egg Harbor Township are, from left, Chris Palen, of Petersburg, DFebbie Poley, of Northfield, and Doris Saul, of Ocean City, all workers' compensation adjusters.

Vernon Ogrodnek

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The relocation of Scibal Associates Inc., a 6-decade-old insurance administrator, from Somers Point to a larger headquarters here is a plus for the local economy — and not just because it keeps a large employer local.

Scibal was acquired three years ago by QualCare Alliance Networks, parent of QualCare, the very large administrator of managed-care plans. So the new offices are a sign not only that Scibal is staying, but that QualCare is expanding into the region and making the township its South Jersey location.

Annette Catino, president and CEO of QualCare, said about 20 of the 125 employees in the new offices work for QualCare.

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“We are looking at contiguous geographies to New Jersey, especially in the South Jersey market in the Philadelphia region,” Catino said. “We’re very happy about being in this location … and hope to be growing there for years to come.”

Ann Noble, president of Scibal, said working with QualCare enhances Scibal’s robust workers compensation division and other lines of coverage administration.

“Now we have claims adjusters and nursing case managers next to each other, collaborating and much more efficient,” Noble said. “Rather than calling another company to get approvals, they’re working together on each claim and helping clients through the healthcare maze.”

QualCare Alliance signed a 15-year, $9.7 million lease for 30,492 square feet of office space on Decadon Drive at the end of last year, the CoStar Group said in December. That’s nearly double the space at its former location on Somers Point-Mays Landing Road.

Scibal’s new headquarters, adjacent to Computer Science Corp., was formerly occupied by the Social Security Administration,

Scibal and QualCare are both third-party administrators that “provide insurance-type services for large employers who are self-insured,” Noble said.

Scibal administers a wide range of coverages, from health to general liability, property and auto liability, and even aviation coverage, an important part of the business when the late Stephen Scibal Sr. founded the company in 1953.

QualCare mainly manages health plans on behalf of employers, and currently oversees coverage for more than 800,000 people.

Both are for-profit companies. Their corporate parent, QualCare Alliance Networks, is owned by 16 healthcare systems and physician organizations, including South Jersey Healthcare and Virtua healthcare system.

Noble said 30 of Scibal’s 150 employees work in the Piscataway offices of QualCare. She said Scibal also has claims offices in Westchester, Pa.; East Syracuse, N.Y.; and Jacksonville, Fla.

The Scibal family still owned the firm when QualCare Alliance bought it three years ago. Catino said David Scibal, son of the founder, was on the board of directors.

Noble said Scibal’s business has been somewhat steady through the downturn since the recession, with revenues currently at about $11 million a year.

Dun & Bradstreet estimates Scibal’s sales at closer to $15 million a year.

Another current challenge for the firms is the evolution of healthcare reform. Catino said QualCare is launching several new products to meet that challenge, including accountable care organizations.

“We’re packaging our infrastructure services and selling that to hospitals and doctors groups to help them deal with healthcare reform,” Catino said. Those services will include data management, analytics, payment methodologies for providers, and coordinating clinical and claims methods.

Catino founded QualCare in 1993 to give hospitals and doctors an alternative to traditional insurance company models. Being owned by such providers has made it friendlier to such providers.

“I always like to say that we’re the least-hated health plan,” Catino said.

Noble said being provider-owned broadens the firms’ provider network.

“We have a lot more success in getting difficult-to-recruit providers in our network, such as anesthesiologists, radiologists, neurosurgeons and other specialists who often don’t participate in other managed care networks,” she said.

The companies aren’t exempt from market discipline, though.

“In order to compete, I have to use all the same tools insurers are using to minimize costs and maximize outcomes,” Catino said.

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