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PA Insurance Dept. 'concerned' with recent Highmark filings on WPAHS deal [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

By Steve Twedt, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Feb. 22--The Pennsylvania Insurance Department has told officials at insurer Highmark Inc. that it "has become concerned" that financial projections in recent filings on its proposed affiliation with the West Penn Allegheny Health System "are inconsistent with Highmark's stated intention and actions."

Specifically, according to the insurance department, Highmark's amendment to its Form A filing assumes Highmark's contract with UPMC will not be extended beyond Dec. 31, 2014.

"However, Highmark is actively seeking to have the Highmark/UPMC contract extended," Deputy Insurance Commissioner Stephen J. Johnson wrote. "Neither the Department nor the public can assess adequately the Form A filing under the circumstances where Highmark is actively pursuing an extension of its contract with UPMC while not disclosing any financial projections showing what would happen if Highmark is successful in those efforts."

Mr. Johnson asked Highmark to provide those projections before March 8 and wrote that "no decision will be made with regard to the filing until the requested information is filed, the public has a chance to review it and submit comments, and the Department and its consultants have time to adequately review the transaction in light of the requested information."

Highmark spokesman Aaron Billger said they received notification of the insurance department's request earlier this week.

"We are compiling a response and we will provide follow up information to the PID upon request," he said.

He said they will also respond privately to a letter from State Sen. Don White, R-Indiana, to Highmark president and CEO William Winkenwerder Jr. that was posted on the insurance department website today.

In the letter, Mr. White asked Dr. Winkenwerder for clarification on Highmark's plans regarding the UPMC contract and for an analysis "which demonstrates the impact a long-term contract between Highmark and UPMC will have on the efforts to revive WPAHS."

Steve Twedt: [email protected] or 412-263-1963.

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