Highmark Inc. and HealthNow New York Inc. recently announced an agreement to affiliate, marking a key milestone in plans to bring together the two nonprofit Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance plans to better serve the communities in Highmark’s Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia regions as well as western and northeastern New York.
“The objectives driving this affiliation are focused on our shared desire for better health solutions for HealthNow members that can increase customer and clinician engagement, create better health outcomes, manage costs and improve affordability,” said David Holmberg, Highmark chairman. “This affiliation will also enable HealthNow to take advantage of Highmark’s resources, tools and advanced technologies.”
Under the terms of the affiliation agreement, Highmark’s parent company, Highmark Health, will become the primary licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association for HealthNow’s eight-county western New York and 13-county northeastern New York service areas, pending regulatory approvals and satisfaction of other closing conditions.
“This affiliation is good for the people and communities we serve. Highmark has a unique business model organized around the principles of partnership between payers and providers,” said David Anderson, HealthNow president and CEO. “In addition, Highmark has been a leader among the Blues and in the broader industry in developing new capabilities and innovative Blue Cross Blue Shield products from which our members and customers will benefit.”
With its history of affiliations, Highmark understands how to ensure members receive the benefits of additional resources and breadth of offerings while preserving the local identity and focus of a regional, mission-driven company. In fact, the affiliation agreement unanimously approved by the respective health plans’ boards of directors contains provisions designed to preserve HealthNow’s strong historical presence in western and northeastern New York.
“Highmark has a strong track record of successful relationships and affiliations with other Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies,” said Deborah Rice-Johnson, Highmark president. “This affiliation will preserve the strong presence of a not-for-profit Blue organization that is committed to the health and vitality of the local communities it serves.”
Together, Highmark and HealthNow provide health insurance plans that serve nearly 6 million members. Both organizations have been recognized for maintaining strong service to their members and customers, and have a legacy of support for the community.