NU Online News Service, Sept. 22, 2003, 5:49 p.m. EDT – The boards of the Health Insurance Association of America, Washington, and its longtime archrival, the American Association of Health Plans, Washington, have agreed to merge.

Members of the groups are scheduled to vote on the merger in October. If the groups complete the deal, AAHP President Karen Ignagni will be president of the combined organization, and the organization will start out operating under the name AAHP/HIAA, the groups say.

The groups did not say what would happen to the role of Dr. Donald Young, the president of the HIAA.

HIAA Chairman Ben Cutler and AAHP President William McCallum say a merger will help members unite to discuss the role of private enterprise in improving the quality of health care, controlling the cost and promoting access.