Highmark-West Penn merger won't limit competition

Highmark can move forward with its $475 million acquisition of West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) now that a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation has concluded that the affiliation won't stifle market competition.

The DOJ Antitrust Division opened the investigation in February to determine whether Highmark's acquisition of WPAHS would create such a large, integrated healthcare company that it would limit competition. But the DOJ found that "such effects are unlikely," the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

In fact, the DOJ actually found that the opposite is true, believing the acquisition "holds the promise of bringing increased competition" to the Western Pennsylvania healthcare market by increasing the "incentives of market participants to compete vigorously," reported Essential Public Radio.

Combining the two companies won't consolidate the market because Highmark owns no hospitals and only a few physician groups, and WPAHS doesn't provide insurance, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

However, the DOJ said it will continue to monitor Pittsburgh's healthcare market to "vigilantly enforce the antitrust laws and thereby protect competition."

To learn more:
- read the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article
- see the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article
- check out the Essential Public Radio article