Press Releases

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Highmark expands cost-saving product to Warren County

Connect Blue offers large groups access to high-quality, affordable care

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Aug. 30, 2018) — Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield announced that it is expanding the Connect Blue EPO product to Warren County, effective Sept. 1. The expansion recently received approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Connect Blue EPO is a lower cost, Community Blue Plan with a three-tiered network design available to large group customers who are renewing or looking for better coverage options. Tiered networks allow insurers to offer customers access to high-value providers with lower negotiated costs.

And while Connect Blue EPO delivers access to many providers across the tiered network, members who access care from a provider in the highest Preferred Value benefit level will see lower copays and other out-of-pocket costs.

Providers in the Preferred Value benefit level include Allegheny Health Network, Warren County Hospital and Warren County Hospital owned physicians and providers.

Additionally, emergency room, mental health and preventive services are covered at the Preferred Value level of benefits when the member receives those services from an in-network provider.

"We have designed the Connect Blue EPO product for Warren County with high-quality providers that consumers know and trust in the lower-cost, top tier," said Tony Benevento, senior vice president of Regional Markets for Highmark Health. "We are very optimistic this will be a desirable option for many of our existing customers and prospective customers in Warren County."

Benevento also said that employers who choose the Connect Blue EPO product can expect to see overall lower costs when employees use providers in the Preferred Value benefit level.

“When employees spend less on care, employers also save – especially large groups that are self-funded,” he said.

To help make choosing the most cost-effective care easier, Highmark's provider directory will be updated to indicate which providers in Warren County are participating at Preferred Value benefit level.

Highmark currently offers Connect Blue EPO in seven other western Pennsylvania counties: Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Erie, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland.


Highmark Inc., doing business as Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, serves approximately 2.5 million members through the company's health care benefits business and hundreds of thousands of additional individuals through the BlueCard® program. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is the market leader in commercial market share, and through its affiliated Blue companies, has strong Medicare Advantage market share as well. Through its affiliated Blue companies, Highmark is the largest and highest-rated Medicare Advantage program in Pennsylvania, and all Medicare Advantage plans have received a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services STARS quality rating of 4+ out of 5.0 STARS. In western Pennsylvania, its unaided brand awareness, brand preference and overall brand rating are significantly higher than its closest competitor. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield employs more than 4,100 people in western, north central and northeastern Pennsylvania. Highmark Blue Cross 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:
Monica Lewis
Highmark Health