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Highmark Blue Shield collaboration with Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth offers new, lower-cost insurance plan option in central Pennsylvania

Highmark Blue Shield

CAMP HILL, Pa. (Sept. 16, 2015) — Highmark Blue Shield will offer a new tiered-benefit plan in five central Pennsylvania counties designed to hold down health insurance costs while still offering members provider choice. The new plan design, known as Alliance Flex Blue, offers two levels of in-network benefits and results from collaboration with Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth.

Beginning on Sept. 8, 2015, this plan design became available to large group clients with employees located in one of the following central Pennsylvania counties: Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon and Perry. The effective start date for all group sizes and individuals is January 1, 2016.

Small groups (100 or fewer employees) and individuals in the region will be eligible for enrollment later this year.

"The question I most often get from our clients is how they can lower their health care costs while still providing rich benefits for their employees," said Highmark Blue Shield Regional Vice President Kelly Lieblein. "Alliance Flex Blue offers another opportunity to partner with outstanding, nationally-recognized providers to help our customers save money while receiving high-quality health care."

"PinnacleHealth has a long, proven record of offering the highest quality care at a lower cost," said Michael A. Young, president and CEO, PinnacleHealth System. "We understand the financial concerns of local businesses and their desire to help keep employees healthy. With our demonstrated results in safety and care coordination, plus recognition for nursing excellence, employers can make the most of the value of our services with Alliance Flex Blue network."

Alliance Flex Blue allows members to select their out-of-pocket cost savings based on the tier of the hospital system where they chose to receive their care. Members choosing services from providers and facilities participating at the Enhanced Value Level of Benefits will have the lowest level of cost-sharing, which includes the deductible, copay and coinsurance (the percentage of the cost of care for which the member is responsible). PinnacleHealth, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State Health St. Joseph participate in the network at the Enhanced Value Level of Benefits.

"Penn State Hershey is committed to providing patients with access to high quality, specialty care at the lowest possible cost," said A. Craig Hillemeier, M.D., CEO, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Penn State's senior vice president of health affairs and dean of its College of Medicine. "Alliance Flex Blue offers patients and employers continued access to vital specialty services with a focus on maximizing value."

The Standard Value Level of Benefits involves a low-to-moderate level of member cost sharing. Carlisle Regional Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Holy Spirit Hospital, Reading Hospital, The Surgical Institute of Reading and other hospitals participate in the network at the Standard Value Level of Benefits.

With Alliance Flex Blue, emergency care is always covered at the Enhanced Value Level of Benefits. Similarly, behavioral health and preventative services are covered at the Enhanced Value Level of Benefits from any in-network provider.

Alliance Flex Blue is Highmark Blue Shield's second tiered-benefit plan in central Pennsylvania, joining the 21-county Community Blue Premiere Flex plan, which was launched in July 2013.

Lieblein added that plan designs like these preserve members' access, while meeting their health care needs and budgets. Highmark also provides an array of transparency tools on its member websites.

About PinnacleHealth System

PinnacleHealth is a pioneer not-for-profit healthcare system dedicated to improving the health and quality of life for the people of Central Pennsylvania since 1873. A proven leader in medical innovation, PinnacleHealth offers a wide range of services from primary care to the most complex surgeries and Magnet recognition for nursing excellence. The healthcare network includes four campuses (Community, West Shore, Harrisburg and Polyclinic) with 626 beds, more than 37,000 admissions, and 138,000 emergency visits. Medical services, including family practice, imaging, outpatient surgery, cardiology and cancer treatment, are offered at multiple locations throughout the region. More than 1.5 million outpatient and physician office visits and more than 36,000 surgical procedures occur annually throughout the PinnacleHealth network. The network also includes joint ventures in the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute with the Penn State Hershey Health System and inpatient and outpatient physical rehabilitation services with Select Medical. For more information, visit

About Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Founded in 1963 through a gift from The Milton S. Hershey Foundation, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is a leading academic medical center located in Hershey, Pa. The 551-bed Medical Center is a provider of high-level, patient-focused medical care. Annually the Medical Center admits more than 28,000 patients, accepts more than 1 million outpatient visits, receives 72,000 emergency room patients and performs more than 30,000 surgical procedures. The Medical Center campus includes Penn State College of Medicine (Penn State's medical school), Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, and Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital—the region's only children's hospital. The Medical Center campus is part of Penn State Hershey Health System, which also includes the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Penn State Hershey Rehabilitation Hospital, and other specialty facilities. For more information, go to

About Highmark Blue Shield

Highmark Blue Shield serves approximately 1.1 million members through the company's health care benefits business and employs nearly 3,000 people in central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. Highmark Blue Shield 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

For more information, contact:
Leilyn Perri
Highmark Blue Shield

Kelly McCall

Scott Gilbert
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center