State Senate takes up issue of Highmark, IBX merger

    A proposed merger between Pennsylvania health insurance companies Highmark and Independence Blue Cross sparked debate about competition at a state Senate panel today. Jen Rehill reports from Harrisburg.

    A proposed merger between Pennsylvania health insurance companies Highmark and Independence Blue Cross sparked debate about competition at a state Senate panel today. Jen Rehill reports from Harrisburg.

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    Transcript:

    If the merger is approved, the company would insure more than 8 million Pennsylvanians – that’s 73-percent of the market. Highmark President and CEO Kenneth Melani says that would benefit state residents.

    Melani: Competition is good, but sometimes too much competition isn’t good. Too much fragmentation on the health insurance side leads to more market power by hospitals and physicians. If that market power leads to increases in costs, that’s not good for consumers.

    State Senator Jake Corman says he’s concerned about decreasing competition.

    Corman: It just scares me that, again, in 20 years from now, what’s this place, Pennsylvania, going to look like as far as health insurance opportunities for the citizens of Pennsylvania. And your size scares me.

    The state insurance department makes the final decision.

    Previous coverage of this story:

    Salaries for merging insurers
    Specter hears insurance debate
    Insurance debate comes to Philly
    Insurance merger debated

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