Press Releases

Thursday, March 05, 2020

Highmark Blue Shield and WellSpan Health announce plans for new collaboration to improve care and lower costs

PITTSBURGH (March 5, 2020) — Highmark Blue Shield and WellSpan Health are working together to create long-term solutions to health care challenges in Central Pennsylvania.

The two organizations have signed a letter of intent to leverage their strengths as the region's largest respective health insurer and integrated health system to better coordinate care for WellSpan Health patients who are also Highmark Blue Shield members.

"We have worked closely and successfully with WellSpan for many years, and this is really a very good next step in our relationship to improve health care for patients throughout the region," said Deborah Rice-Johnson, president, Highmark Inc. "With WellSpan, ChoiceBlue is a great option for customers and gives them access to high quality care."

The strategic partnership will also explore a range of innovative joint products and collaborative arrangements, including:

  • Care navigation for medical, behavioral health and/or pharmacy care
  • Innovative tele-health services
  • Bundled payment arrangements on certain medical and surgical procedures, aimed at improving quality and efficiency
  • Value-based payment arrangements focused on improved quality and outcomes
  • Using data and analytics to improve care delivery and coordination for patients and populations
  • Leveraging WellSpan's clinically integrated network of physicians and clinicians, called the WellSpan Provider Network, to jointly establish high-quality, lower-cost products and programs for Highmark members

The first area of focus for the partnership will be the offering of a new joint health insurance product, called ChoiceBlue, for WellSpan patients in Adams, Franklin, northern Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties. With ChoiceBlue, the physicians and clinicians in the WellSpan Provider Network can better coordinate care for patients and plan members, leading to improved outcomes and lower health care costs.

"By partnering with organizations that provide health care coverage to patients we serve, we can deliver higher value to our friends and neighbors who turn to us for care," said Roxanna L. Gapstur, Ph.D., R.N, president and CEO of WellSpan Health. "We look forward to working even more closely with Highmark toward a shared vision of higher quality health care at an affordable price."

About Highmark Blue Shield 
Highmark Inc., doing business as Highmark Blue Shield, serves approximately 1.2 million members through the company's health care benefits business and hundreds of thousands of additional individuals through the BlueCard® program. Highmark Blue Shield has significant commercial market share and strong Medicare Advantage membership [through certain of its affiliated Blue companies] as well. Through its affiliated Blue companies, all of Highmark's Medicare Advantage plans in Pennsylvania received a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services quality rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. Highmark Blue Shield employs approximately 3,500 people in central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley, serving as a key economic driver in the region. Highmark Blue Shield's total economic impact throughout central Pennsylvania is more than $978 million. 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

About Wellspan Health
WellSpan Health is an integrated health system that serves the communities of central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. The organization is comprised of more than 1,600 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a regional behavioral health organization, a home care organization, eight respected hospitals, approximately 20,000 employees, and more than 200 patient care locations. WellSpan is a charitable, mission-driven organization, committed to exceptional care for all, lifelong wellness and healthy communities. Visit

For more information, contact:

Leilyn Perri
Highmark Health