Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware Announces Affiliation Agreement With Highmark Inc.

Partnership will bring new products and services to Delaware and enhance cost-effectiveness of both companies

WILMINGTON, Del., Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware (BCBSD) announced today that it has signed an affiliation agreement with Pennsylvania-based Highmark Inc. (Highmark) that will position BCBSD to remain a strong local leader in the health care marketplace. This announcement is the culmination of a four-year corporate strategic planning process for BCBSD.

"After careful deliberation, we have selected Highmark, also a Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan, as our proposed affiliation partner," said Timothy J. Constantine, president and CEO of BCBSD. "We recognize that it will become increasingly difficult for small, independent plans to access the capital required to make the necessary investments to stay competitive." He added, "This affiliation will allow us to retain our not-for-profit status, enhance operations, maintain financial stability and continue to provide the high level of local service that our customers and providers expect."

The affiliation will require review and approval by the Delaware Department of Insurance before it becomes effective. Once effective, the new structure will allow Highmark and BCBSD to become more cost effective through shared investment in systems and capabilities. This regional affiliation will afford both companies greater economies of scale and the ability to streamline operations, while maintaining their strong local presence and focus on community support.

"Through this new relationship, BCBSD will have access to a wide range of Highmark's capabilities, including enhanced customer services, such as online provider cost information and wellness programs, while physicians and hospitals will see real-time claims estimation and adjudication capabilities,"  said Constantine.  "In addition, this affiliation with Highmark will enable Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware to remain competitive, and continue as a significant local employer and contributor to the local economy."

Under the agreement, BCBSD will become an affiliate of Highmark, but will continue to operate as a separate legal entity headquartered in Delaware. Mr. Constantine will remain the president of BCBSD.

"As the health care marketplace continues to evolve with the passage of health care reform, it is imperative for health insurers to reduce their administrative costs and operate more efficiently. This affiliation will help the two companies achieve that vital goal," said Dr. Kenneth Melani, president and CEO of Highmark. "BCBSD will retain and emphasize local relationships with customers, hospitals, doctors, other providers and the community as a whole."

"During the past decade, Highmark has established strong business affiliations and relationships with other Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies, including Mountain State Blue Cross Blue Shield in West Virginia," said Melani. He added that the affiliation with BCBSD will be similar in scope to the successful business relationship with Mountain State, "benefiting our customers and the communities we serve and in which we operate."

About Highmark Inc.

As one of the leading health insurers in Pennsylvania, Highmark Inc.'s mission is to provide access to affordable, quality health care enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark serves 4.7 million people through the company's health care benefits business. Highmark contributes millions of dollars to help keep quality health care programs affordable and to support community-based programs that work to improve people's health. Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit highmark.com.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware. Celebrating 75 years of service in 2010, BCBSD offers a comprehensive portfolio of health benefits products to nearly 400,000 customers. BCBSD is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. More information about BCBSD is available at bcbsde.com.

SOURCE Highmark Inc.

Suggested Articles

UnitedHealth Group announced Monday that it has tapped Andrew Witty, CEO of Optum, to serve as president of the parent company.

The healthcare industry is honoring a titan this week following the unexpected death of Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson. 

Louisiana faces a class-action lawsuit that charges it failed to provide adequate mental health services to children in Medicaid.