In the spring of 1993, more than 100 community leaders representing
employers, health care providers, and organized labor from Beaver,
Butler, and Lawrence counties in Western Pennsylvania met to explore
solutions to the rapidly rising health insurance premiums throughout
the region. Their discussion produced an active steering committee
charged with the mission of seeking out insurance and health plan
alternatives designed to control costs without sacrificing health
care and service quality.
In response to this challenge, the committee chose to leverage the
purchasing strength of an alliance of multiple employers, both small
and large, which would negotiate with local and national health
plans. Consideration was given to all local carriers based on their
financial terms, renewal commitment, network access, quality assurance,
customer service, flexible plan designs, and dedication to the growth
and long-term success of this initiative.
HealthAmerica, with its Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), HealthAssurance,
was selected as the group's partner of choice. In addition to meeting
as well as exceeding the groups requirements, HealthAmerica committed
to controlling cost increases over a three-year period for all employer
groups electing to work through this new alliance of employers.
The Tri-County Health Care Alliance was ultimately formed in November
of 1993 and incorporated as a non-profit organization. In January
1994, HealthAmerica enrolled 29 companies as its first insurance
members through the Alliance. As the membership grew and the interest
to participate in the Alliance spread throughout the region, expansion
commenced in 1995 to add Mercer County in Pennsylvania, as well
as Mahoning, Columbiana, and Trumbull counties in Eastern Ohio.
This expansion also necessitated a name change to the "Penn-Ohio
Regional Health Care Alliance."
In January 2010, HealthAmerica was again chosen as the partner of
choice for a three-year term. As part of this agreement, the Alliance will be expanding into Armstrong County.
The relationship with HealthAmerica continues today, as does the
success of Penn-Ohio. Currently, more than 16,931 employees and
family members are enrolled in the Penn-Ohio Alliance. Additionally,
an initial savings on premiums has accrued to more than $6 million
for all employer members that have joined the Penn-Ohio Alliance.