Highmark closes merger with Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania; Broker admits to stealing $10M from Aetna;

News From Around the Web

> Highmark has closed its merger with Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The company will operate as Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and cover 550,000 members in 13 counties. Statement

> An insurance broker pleaded guilty to stealing $10 million in institutional health policy premiums from Aetna, the Hartford Courant reported. Bonney J. Hebert of Killington, Vermont admitted to the theft in 2012 and now owes Aetna nearly $8 million. She will be sentenced Aug. 27. Article

> Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has applied to take over the operation of the state's health insurance exchange, WTAE reported. Nearly 350,000 Pennsylvania residents have received subsidized coverage through Healthcare.gov, according to the latest data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, but could lose subsidies if the Supreme Court deems them illegal on the federal exchange. Article

Mobile Health News

> Health insurance providers want to know early on when their members are pregnant and are turning to apps to gain deeper insight on potential health issues in a quest to spur healthier pregnancies, avoid potential newborn medical challenges and lower costs tied to childbirth and delivery. Article

> An increasing number of lifestyle diseases--from diabetes to hypertension to sleep apnea--is spurring robust growth in the global mHealth device, services and app market, which hit $10.5 billion in 2014 and is on track to increase 33.5 percent annually from 2015 to 2020, reveals a new report published by Allied Market Research. Article

And finally … These pets want in. Now. Photos