Highmark is expanding its operations in New York by partnering with HealthNow New York. This plan combines two non-profit Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance plans to serve the communities of Western New York as well as Highmark's Pennsylvania regions. The affiliation's goal is to improve health outcomes, manage costs, improve affordability, and increase customer and clinician engagement.
Subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, Highmark's parent company, Highmark Health, becomes the primary licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association for HealthNow's eight-county Western New York and 13-county Northeastern New York service areas under the terms of the affiliation agreement.
According to the Highmark Blue Cross, and HealthNow New York affiliation agreement:
- HealthNow's headquarters will remain in Erie County, New York, as well its regional offices in Northeastern New York/Albany County, New York.
- HealthNow will be known as Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York and Highmark Blue Shield of Northeastern New York, retaining the health plan's regional identity.
- Highmark understands the value of having a local market presence and regional influence on healthcare decisions. This includes recognizing the importance of keeping jobs in the local affiliate's market and minimizing disruptions to the local workforce.
- HealthNow Administrative Services, with offices in Blue Bell, PA, and Sacramento, CA, will also be included in the proposed transaction, providing TPA services to over 100,000 customers.
- The combined organizations provide health insurance to nearly six million people.
"This affiliation is beneficial to the people and communities we serve," HealthNow president and CEO David Anderson said. "Highmark has a distinct business model based on the principles of collaboration between payers and providers. Furthermore, Highmark has been a leader among Blues and in the broader industry in developing new capabilities and innovative Blue Cross Blue Shield products that will benefit our members and customers."
Highmark's president, Deborah Rice-Johnson, stated, "Highmark has a strong track record of successful relationships and affiliations with other Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies." "This affiliation will maintain the strong presence of a non-profit Blue organization dedicated to the health and vitality of the communities it serves."
According to Health Research Institute (HRI), 40% of healthcare executives from all sectors of the industry—payers, providers, pharmaceutical companies, and others—are "somewhat" or "very likely" to collaborate with or acquire companies from other industries in the coming year. When making these deals, 26% of payer executives said they would prioritize finding partners who would help their companies maintain or increase their competitive advantages.