Pennsylvania's two largest health insurers are in talks for a possible merger,
according to a memo one of the companies' chief executives sent to employees on
Joe Frick, president and chief executive of Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia,
said the company has been in talks with Highmark for the past year.
Next week, the boards of the two not-for-profit health insurers will meet separately
to ''consider and vote on whether to combine the two companies,'' Frick wrote.
But Frick also cautioned that there is no certainty the talks will result in a merger.
A spokesman for Pittsburgh-based Highmark said the two insurers have been in
discussion for months on ways they can work better together. He declined to elaborate.
Independence Blue Cross serves about 3.4 million members, most of them in the
Philadelphia area, while Highmark has over 4 million from western Pennsylvania to the
Combined, the two command more than 53% of the state's insurance market, according to
the 2005 report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. -- by the