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Bill to aid Highmark-Delaware deal passes Senate |

Bill to aid Highmark-Delaware deal passes Senate

A bill to keep alive a proposed merger between Highmark Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware has cleared the Delaware Senate.

The proposal, which still must be approved by the House and signed by the governor, would exempt the deal between the largest health insurers in Pennsylvania and Delaware from a ruling by the state’s attorney general. Attorney General Beau Biden said an undetermined portion of Blue Cross’ $175 million in reserves must be set aside in a foundation for the benefit of taxpayers.

His ruling was based on a 2004 state law meant to protect money accumulated by the nonprofit Blue Cross should it be acquired. Delaware state Sen. Patricia Blevins, who introduced the bill, said the law wasn’t meant to be applied to a merger between two not-for-profit organizations. Highmark declined to comment and Blue Cross did not respond. The deal still requires the approval of Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Stewart.

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