Insurers and provider groups in Pennsylvania are starting to react to the announcement that Highmark Inc. and Independence Blue Cross hope to merge.
Highmark, Pittsburgh, is a nonprofit Blue Cross and Blue Shield carrier with a 60% share of the western Pennsylvania health insurance market, and it also is the largest health insurer in West Virginia.
Independence Blue, Philadelphia, another nonprofit company, has a market share of about 50% in its core markets, according to Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, New York.
Although a merger of the companies could create a health insurer with $20 billion in annual revenue and more than a 50% share of the Pennsylvania health insurance market, the companies operate “for the most part in geographically exclusive portions of the state,” according to Moody’s Investors Service, New York.
The lack of overlap might mean that a merger would not make the combined company any more dominant throughout Pennsylvania than each company is in its core market today, analysts today.
Capital Blue Cross, Harrisburg, Pa., the company that holds the Blue Cross license for central Pennsylvania, put out a statement emphasizing that it already competes with large out-of-region insurers.