Pa. Internists Fight To Block Blues' Merger

As part of an effort to overturn the merger of Pennsylvania Blue Shield and Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania, internists have filed a court complaint against the state insurance department, seeking a ruling on whether the physicians have a legal basis for fighting the merger.

The legal skirmish comes as a Dec. 6 deadline approaches, when limits on the merged company's operations, imposed by the insurance department at the time of the merger, expire. After that, the merged plans, which operate as Highmark Inc., will be legally able to convert to for-profit status. The company says it has no plans to convert.

The Pennsylvania Society of Internal Medicine went to court to seek a prompt resolution of an issue that has been before the insurance department since January, when it held a hearing and said it would rule promptly on the internists' attempt to block the merger.

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