IBC And Cooper Cozy Over Insurance Subsidiary: Insurers Shift To Hospital Collaboration

Independence Blue Cross (“IBC”) announced on April 10, 2013, that it agreed to sell 20% of IBC’s New Jersey health insurance subsidiary, AmeriHealth New Jersey, to Cooper University Health Care (“Cooper”) of Camden, NJ.  AmeriHealth New Jersey, which was started in 1994, employs 140 in its Cranbury headquarters and covers 200,000 in New Jersey, for a roughly 5 percent market share.  IBC declined to disclose the price Cooper agreed to pay.  The deal still requires regulatory approval.

The Cooper/IBC deal is part of a trend to integrated hospitals and insurers to prepare for a shift to a payment system for healthcare that pays providers lump sums for all care needed by an individual rather than for each discrete visit and treatment.  Catholic Health Initiatives, of Englewood, Colo., one of the nation’s largest systems, spent $24 million last month for a majority interest in a health insurer.  The development of new, lower-cost insurance offerings (15-20% below market), is central to the Cooper-IBC partnership.

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