Supplier Diversity Program

Are you a Small or Diverse Business?

Highmark Wholecare strives to consistently increase utilization of small businesses and other diverse business enterprises. We are committed to continuing our search for competent business partners who excel in their field, can meet our business needs, and help us enhance our process. Read below to learn more about registering with Highmark Wholecare as a diverse supplier and how to apply for future bid consideration.

Supplier Diversity Program

Our supplier diversity program, coordinated through the Procurement Department, enables us to promote business opportunities for diverse suppliers in the communities we serve, which include business that are:

  • Minority-owned
  • Woman-owned
  • Historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone)
  • Service-disabled veteran-owned
  • Veteran-owned
  • LGBT
  • Small businesses and other disadvantaged business enterprises in the various communities we serve.  It is one way for us to impact and nurture the health of local businesses and community growth.

The supplier diversity program is an important part of our sourcing efforts. This program helps us to:

  • Match qualified diverse suppliers with the needs of our internal business partners
  • Build long-term business relationships with individuals that are reflective of our communities
  • Create business opportunities for diverse suppliers
  • Become more competitive in a diverse marketplace

We maintain memberships in organizations that support the growth and development of Minority and Women businesses and, participate in networking, outreach and national conferences, to continually identify potential partners.

Eligibility and Requirements

If you would like to participate in our supplier diversity program, your business must be a verified self-certified or certified small business, minority, woman-owned, veteran owned or disadvantaged business enterprise. Certifications for each type of classification typically requires the following:

Small Business* – Defined in terms of the number of employees over the past year or average annual receipts over the past three years.  Size standards vary by industry.

*Note:  Contact Small Business Administration for more information on Small and Disadvantaged Businesses at

Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) – At least 51% owned, controlled, and operated by one or more persons who are U.S. citizens and are:

  • African American/Black
  • Hispanics
  • Asians and Pacific Islanders

Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) – At least 51% owned, controlled and operated by a woman or women who are U.S. citizens.

Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) – Located in the U.S. that is at least 51% owned, operated, controlled and managed by one or more veterans who are U.S. citizens.

Service Disability Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) – Located in the U.S. that is at least 51% owned, operated, controlled and managed by one or more veterans who are U.S. citizens.  The Service Disabled Veteran (SDV) must have a service-connected disability that has been determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense.

HUBZone – A small business that is 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens, with its principal office and at least 35% of its employees residing in a HUBZone for at least 180 days.

Diverse supplier certification

We accept certifications from the following organizations:

To register with Highmark Wholecare as a diverse supplier, please click here 

PA Department of General Services’ Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion & Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO)

The PA Department of General Services’ Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion & Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO) is responsible for assisting small and diverse businesses, including Minority Business Enterprises, Women Business Enterprises, Veteran Business Enterprises, Service-Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises, Disability-Owned Business Enterprises, and LGBT Business Enterprises in competing for Commonwealth contracting opportunities.

The BDISBO, through the Verification Program, verifies self-certified small businesses as Small Diverse Businesses (SDBs) when they hold certifications from the above mentioned third party entities.

For complete details on how to become a Small or Small Diverse Business or to participate in the PA Department of General Services (BDISBO) programs, visit the PA DGS Small Business Contracting Program and Small Diverse Business Program pages.

Products and services

We have partnership opportunities for diverse suppliers in the following areas, including, but not limited to:

  • Building and construction
  • Computer hardware & peripherals
  • Computer software
  • Office supplies
  • Printing services
  • Professional services
  • Promotional products
  • Temporary staffing

Diverse supplier engagement

Are you a diverse supplier interested in working with Highmark Wholecare? Contact us with your company’s information and a member from our procurement team will be in touch when a potential business opportunity aligns with your capabilities and experience. We look forward to hearing from you!

Second Tier Diverse Spend

Our supplier diversity program also encourages its suppliers (first tier) to use diverse suppliers (second tier). First tier contracts are between our company and the supplier. Second tier contracts are between the first tier supplier and its subcontractor(s). It is the first tier supplier's obligation to determine if its subcontractors are diverse suppliers and to use diverse suppliers whenever possible.

First tier suppliers are required to submit a quarterly second tier diverse spend report within 10 business days following the end of each quarter. 

Please email [email protected] for the second tier diversity spend report template or if you have questions about our supplier diversity program.

This information is issued on behalf of Highmark Wholecare, coverage by Gateway Health Plan, which is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Highmark Wholecare serves a Medicaid plan to Blue Shield members in 13 counties in central Pennsylvania, as well as, to Blue Cross Blue Shield members in 14 counties in western Pennsylvania. Highmark Wholecare serves Medicare Dual Special Needs plans (D-SNP) to Blue Shield members in 14 counties in northeastern Pennsylvania, 12 counties in central Pennsylvania, 5 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, and to Blue Cross Blue Shield members in 27 counties in western Pennsylvania.

Copyright 2023 by Highmark WholecareSM