BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and Highmark Health have received regulatory approval to form a strategic affiliation. With this affiliation, we begin our path forward to enhance customer and clinician engagement, create better health outcomes, control costs and improve affordability for members in Western New York.
While integrating our two companies will take time, we are committed to keeping you informed throughout this process.
One of America's leading health insurance organizations and an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Highmark Inc. and its affiliated health plans work passionately to deliver high-quality, accessible, understandable, and affordable experiences, outcomes, and solutions to customers. As the fourth-largest overall Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated organization in membership, Highmark Inc. and its Blue-branded affiliates proudly cover the insurance needs of more than 5.6 million members in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia. Its diversified businesses serve group customer and individual needs across the United States through dental insurance and other related businesses.
March 1, 2021 | Source: BCBSWNY
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why did Highmark and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York pursue this affiliation?
- An affiliation with Highmark will provide Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York with access to capabilities that will allow it to deliver what both organizations believe will be a sustainable health care and coverage model to the consumers of Western New York
- This will allow us to preserve a competitive not-for-profit option for consumers with a commitment to a mission of improving the overall health care of the community
How will this affiliation benefit me as an employer?
- Employers will benefit from our newly enhanced scale, capabilities, advanced technologies, and have access to new, innovative products
- It will increase our ability to drive market-leading solutions that deliver advanced, cost-effective and quality health care for your employees
Are there other benefits that will be realized from this affiliation?
- This affiliation will bring many positive changes and opportunities to our members in the future, but will not result in any immediate changes or disruption
- Bringing us together will enable us to take advantage of resources, tools and advanced technologies, while delivering on Highmark’s growth strategy to reinvent health care for the betterment of our community
- Highmark and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York have a shared desire for developing better health solutions that can control costs, increase customer and clinician engagement, create better health outcomes, and improve affordability for our members, employers and providers
What is the official name of the new organization?
- The new organization is Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Specifically, in Western New York, we are Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York
Will you remain a local plan?
- Yes, the communities served by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York will benefit from the continued presence of a local, mission-driven health care company, employer and corporate citizen
- We are maintaining our headquarters in Western New York, our regional office in Northeastern New York, and locally-based leadership and board of directors
Will there be any changes to your service area?
- No, we will continue to operate in the same 8 counties of Western New York as Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York
Is my main point of contact changing?
- No, your contacts at Highmark Blue Cross BlueShield of Western New York will remain the same. Should there be any changes, you will be informed in advance
Will you be offering new products, and if so, by when?
- In the near term, there will be no changes in product designs for members with coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York
- Throughout 2021, and beyond, we intend to offer new health care coverage options – following both state and federal regulatory guidelines and timelines for filings. We will be sharing more details on this in the coming months
Will my employees’ benefits change?
- No, your employees’ benefits will not change through your plan year
Will my employees have to change doctors?
- Your employees’ benefits will not change through your plan year
- With both companies operating as licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, your employees will continue to have access to the Blue Cross Blue Shield network of doctors and hospitals in all 50 states
Will my employees get new member ID Cards?
- No, your employees will continue to use their current member ID card for the immediate term
How will this impact your commitment to unionized labor in the region?
- We will proudly continue operating as the only Western New York-based health plan with a unionized workforce
- With over 4,475 union employees across its Highmark footprint, and labor-based clients with a combined 359,000 members, Highmark recognizes the importance of honoring existing collective bargaining agreements