M&A Watch: An Eye On The Changing Healthcare Climate

Who: Eastern Pennsylvania Network (EPHN-Bethlehem, Pa.) is partnering with Blue Health Network (BRHN-Pottsville, Pa.)

When: Nov. 1 (effective date)

Total PR/Marketers: 1 marketing director, 2 marketing sales reps (no staff was cut)

Effect on PR/Marketing: EPHN and BRHN have agreed to pool its resources as provider-based health plans and offer area employers a single health plan with more than 1,100 doctors, 15 hospitals and 39,000 members in a 10-county region. Interestingly, no merger or new corporation was required.

The state-authorized agreement allows members access to full coverage of both plans, (whether they're with EPHN or BRHN) and also propels EPHN/BRHN up the competition chain.

The two independent health plans could not put a dent in the area's managed care marketplace that included PennCare with 11 hospitals and 1,800 physicians and Valley Preferred with 41,200 members as well as insurer-run plans like PruCare and Aetna U.S. Healthcare.

No formal merger has been discussed between the EPHN and BRHN and both organizations will retain its own board of directors and tax identification codes.

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