Highmark sues PA insurance department

    One of Pennsylvania’s Big Blue insurers says the state is going too far in its examination of the health insurance industry.

    One of Pennsylvania’s Big Blue insurers says the state is going too far in its examination of the health insurance industry.

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    Advocacy groups have long complained that Pennsylvania’s four Blue Cross-Blue Shield companies dominate the marketplace pushing up prices and shutting out smaller competitors. The state is conducting a region-by-region examination of those claims, and now Highmark Incorporated says the Commonwealth is overreaching.

    Joel Ario leads the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. He says, unlike the other Blues companies, Highmark has not cooperated with requests for information.

    Ario: Frankly in the current climate where there’s real question about insurers behavior in a broad range of issues, for them to be sort of thumbing their nose at us in this way, I think, is surprising.

    Highmark is suing the state insurance department. In a statement, the company says Pennsylvania intends to challenge Highmark’s right to use the Blue Cross and Blue Shield brands. Highmark says the probe is an “unlawful and unauthorized” review that will cause the insurer irreparable harm and substantial expense.

    Independence Blue Cross is the largest health insurer in southeast Pennsylvania. The company has similar concerns about the state review.

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