|By Harold Brubaker, The Philadelphia Inquirer|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
IBC has yet to release comprehensive financial results for 2011, but president and chief executive
"We emerged from a difficult time," Hilferty said. Beyond the disastrous economy, IBC faced fierce competition from Aetna and UnitedHealthcare and had to refocus after the long-planned merger with
Hilferty, who succeeded Joseph A Frick in the top job at IBC in
"We have enough income to invest in the technologies, the programs, the partnerships that we need … to truly transform the way health care is delivered, improve quality, and drive down costs," he said.
He does not foresee a renewed effort to merge with another
The difficulties IBC has had are evident in its membership numbers, which got a boost from a big customer when
But from 2005 through 2010, total membership fell 9 percent, to 3.1 million from 3.4 million. In the
The erosion of market share also shows up in the financial disclosures of some local hospital systems.
For example, the
"Under Dan, they are not going to be sitting on their hands. They are going to compete," said Maleski, who has 22 years of industry experience in the
Across the country, insurers are experimenting, said Lawnton R. Burns, chairman of the health-care management department at the
A major area of experimentation for IBC involves incentive programs for primary-care physicians to reduce costs. The company said last week that in 2011, it paid nearly
Health-care executives remain cautious. "Right now, in 2012, we're only interested in upside-only arrangements. We are not interested in accepting downside financial risks. We don't have those capabilities here," said
A big challenge for IBC, which for generations has sold insurance to employers, is the anticipated shift of individuals from employer plans to plans they buy on state exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.
Hilferty said IBC did not expect traditional employer-based insurance to end, but it has adapted by selling individual insurance policies. IBC is well equipped to attract customers who will buy subsidized insurance on the exchanges, he said, because of its experience managing state
Hilferty welcomes it. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," he said.
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