Navigation Links
Pennsylvania Insurance Department Examinations to Focus on Health Insurance Competition
Date:7/17/2009

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Insurance Department will conduct examinations of the state's four Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance companies, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Capital BlueCross, Highmark, Inc. and Independence Blue Cross, to determine if any of them were engaged in anti-competitive or unfair trade practices in violation of the law, Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario announced today.

"When Highmark Blue Shield and Independence Blue Cross withdrew their consolidation proposal earlier this year, it was good news for consumers," said Commissioner Ario. "But it did not improve the anti-competitive dynamics that remain at play in Pennsylvania's health insurance marketplace.

"The purpose of these four examinations is to determine whether there are any anti-competitive practices that violate current law and, if so, to take steps under the law to remedy the effects on competition," continued Ario. "If we discover competitive problems that do not violate current law, an outgrowth of this process could be recommendations for statutory changes to promote more competition in the Pennsylvania health insurance marketplace."

Ario said the examinations, which would be done on a company-by-company basis, would be wide-ranging in collecting data, analyzing agreements, and otherwise investigating competitive dynamics in the Pennsylvania marketplace.

"The consolidation review was forward-looking in determining whether the consolidation would lead to a better marketplace for consumers," said Ario. "These examinations have a different focus in determining whether the status quo gives consumers access to a healthy climate of competition. Competition is always important to consumers in reducing costs and increasing choices, and it will only become more important if Congress moves forward with federal health reform that is premised on competitive markets existing at the state level."

Among the issues to be explored are the following:

  • Whether the territorial restrictions in the Blues' licensing agreements are anti-competitive given the unique circumstances in Pennsylvania with competing Blue licenses in three of the state's four regions, as well as evidence that Blue on Blue competition has benefited consumers and enhanced the Blue brand in the central region.
  • Whether there are other agreements among the Blues that impede rather than promote competition.
  • Whether the Blues use their market power to unfair and anti-competitive advantage in areas such as provider contracting and product tying.
  • Whether there are restrictions on data sharing and other market practices that impede the transparency necessary to a competitive marketplace.

"Our underlying goal is to promote competition, not to denigrate in any way the impressive accomplishments of the four Blues, each of which has played a critical role in providing health insurance and supporting civic causes," Ario said. "We reject the notion that enhanced competition is inconsistent with the future success of the Blues and their competitors."

The Insurance Department will begin the examinations this month, with the goal of completing them by early 2010. The department has retained the law firm of Hangley Aronchick Segal & Pudlin to serve as an examiner and expects to retain an expert economist in connection with the examinations. While the law governing examinations requires that confidential treatment be given to information and materials provided by the examination subjects during the course of the examinations, the law also provides that the results, in the form of final examination reports, be made public.

    CONTACT: Rosanne Placey or Melissa Fox
    (717) 787-3289


'/>"/>
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Insurance
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Governor Rendell Offers adultBasic Coverage to 35,000 Uninsured Pennsylvanians
2. Health and Business Groups Launch Ad Campaign About Need for Comprehensive Smoke-Free Law in Pennsylvania
3. NNN Healthcare/Office REIT Acquires 2750 Monroe Boulevard in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
4. Pennsylvania Department of Aging Receives Grant to Improve Alzheimers Support
5. Pennsylvania Needs More Lung Cancer Research
6. Saint Vincent Health System of Erie, Pennsylvania Named One of AARP 2007 Best Employers for Workers Over 50
7. Pennsylvania Game Commission Announces EHD Confirmed in Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties
8. Maryland, Minnesota Go Smoke-free Oct. 1 - Pennsylvania Overdue in Following Suit
9. Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation Accreditation Status for Trauma Centers
10. Health Secretary Urges Pennsylvanians to Get a Flu Shot
11. Governor Rendell Calls for Prompt Action on Prescription for Pennsylvania, Cover All Pennsylvanians Health Care Reforms
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/26/2017)... ... February 25, 2017 , ... The February 13, 2017, assassination of Kim Jong-nam, ... nerve agents and the deadly use of chemical weapons. Many questions exist about the ... small doses can be lethal. , Jay Jagannathan, M.D., of Michigan-based Jagannathan Neurosurgical Institute, ...
(Date:2/26/2017)... San Mateo, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 26, 2017 , ... ... Bay Area cities as diverse as Millbrae, Belmont, and Palo Alto, is proud to ... San Mateo. Many Bay Area consumers look for home care close to home, and ...
(Date:2/26/2017)... Overland Park, KS (PRWEB) , ... ... ... launch of StaffBridge sets a new technology standard in staffing, scheduling, and ... to manage, monitor, and predict activity throughout the entire staffing process. StaffBridge ...
(Date:2/26/2017)... ... February 26, 2017 , ... ... (PD) in persons with a specific LRRK2 mutation, according to a study released ... studies have provided evidence of a link between pesticides and incidence of sporadic ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... February 24, 2017 , ... ... tooth replacement options at his office, Antoine Dental Center. Currently, patients can get ... Some restrictions may apply, but patients can learn more about these offers by ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... 2017 Medical information groups within the ... self-service capabilities to manage inquiries from external stakeholders ... New research from consulting leader Best Practices, LLC ... website portals where HCPs can sign on and ... many findings to emerge from the new study ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... -- Report analyzes the worldwide markets for Endodontic Supplies in ... US, Canada , Japan ... , Latin America , and Rest of ... 2015 through 2022. Also, a six-year historic analysis is provided ... primary and secondary research. Company profiles are primarily based on ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... -- Directors from Pharma To Market Pty Ltd and Ador Consulting Pte ... the founding of Pharma To Market Pte Ltd, based in ... to announce their expansion into Asia with ... The company are delighted to appoint Joelle Chia , former ... based entity. Joelle brings with her an extensive business ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: