Pa. Blues make merger case

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 21, 2007

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Highmark Inc. and Independence Blue Cross say their proposed merger should go through because their deal will have no effect on health competition in Pennsylvania.

That contention was made in a 3,000-page filing that the Pennsylvania Insurance Dept. has posted online (link). Receipt of the filing allows interested parties to comment on it to the department, which must approve the deal.

The filing includes detailed organizational charts, financial information and other evidence that the companies believe show that a merger between Pittsburgh-based Highmark, which operates mostly in western Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia-based Independence, which operates mostly in the eastern part of the state, is one of two companies whose territories have little overlap, though they do compete for Medicaid managed care business in the central part of the state.

Highmark and Independence, both nonprofit companies, are two of the state's four BlueCross BlueShield-licensed health plans.

"The two nonprofit corporations offer products in different geographic markets and do not compete with each other," the companies said in their filings. "Therefore, the combination of the two nonprofit corporations will not substantially lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly."

The combined company would insure 7.1 million out of 12.4 million Pennsylvanians, and its $20 billion in annual revenue would make it the sixth-largest health plan in the nation. The Pennsylvania Medical Society is among those who have called on regulators to review the merger thoroughly and have expressed worries about the impact of a new, larger plan.

Note: This item originally appeared at

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn