; Blue Cross Of Northeastern Pennsylvania And Highmark Inc. Sign Letter Of Intent To Pursue Stronger Affiliation
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Press Release

Blue Cross Of Northeastern Pennsylvania And Highmark Inc. Sign Letter Of Intent To Pursue Stronger Affiliation

November 11, 2013

WILKES-BARRE – Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA), headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., announced today the signing of a letter of intent with Highmark Inc., headquartered in Pittsburgh, to pursue a stronger affiliation between the two not-for-profit health insurance leaders.

The signing of the letter of intent enables the two organizations to conduct detailed discussions and perform necessary due diligence, with the goal of creating greater efficiencies and value for the benefit of their members and customers.

"For 75 years, BCNEPA and Highmark have been leaders in providing quality, affordable health care coverage to the people of their regions under the strength of the Blue Cross Blue Shield brand," said Denise S. Cesare, president and CEO of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

"Our two companies have enjoyed a long and successful history of collaboration, providing a solid foundation from which to pursue an even stronger affiliation," Cesare added. "I am confident that the result of our discussions will best serve the long-term needs of the residents and communities across BCNEPA's 13 counties — maintained regional presence, representation, employment and enhanced products."

"Highmark views the northeastern Pennsylvania region and the opportunity to enhance our partnership with BCNEPA as very important to the community," said William Winkenwerder, Jr., M.D., president and CEO of Highmark Health, the parent company of Highmark Inc. "We are excited about this opportunity and what a closer affiliation can accomplish for the benefit of BCNEPA members in the northeastern and north central Pennsylvania market."

Together, BCNEPA and Highmark provide health insurance plans that serve more than 5.4 million members in 62 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, as well as in Delaware and West Virginia. Both organizations have been recognized for maintaining their not-for-profit mission and strong service to their customers and communities while driving innovative health care solutions for the future.

The companies will have no further comment until the next phase of private discussions has been completed.

About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to more than 540,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company's mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations it serves. For more information, visit www.bcnepa.com.

About Highmark Inc.
Highmark is a national diversified health and wellness company based in Pittsburgh that serves 33.5 million people across the United States through its businesses in health insurance, dental insurance, vision care and information technology. Highmark is also part of a larger entity that also includes an integrated health care delivery network. The company, which has more than 20,000 employees, is among the largest health insurers in the U.S. and the fourth-largest Blue Cross and Blue Shield-affiliated company. Highmark operates health insurance plans in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia that serve 5.3 million members.

The company also offers health and wellness products to clients with employees throughout the country and is a recognized leader in reinsurance. In addition, Highmark operates more than 600 optical retail stores (Visionworks) and four U.S.-based eyewear manufacturing facilities. Highmark is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 37 independent, community-based and locally-operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for nearly 100 million members – one-in-three Americans.  For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog, for up-to-date information about BCBSA.