Pennsylvania Blues powerhouse Highmark Health completed a series of acquisitions in 2021 that stand to boost its public-sector membership by nearly 500,000 lives. First, in March, Highmark completed an affiliation deal with HealthNow New York Inc., the parent company of BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and BlueShield of Northeastern New York, expanding its reach to the Empire State in several key markets, including Medicare Advantage. Then on Sept. 7, Highmark took full ownership of Gateway Health Plan, the third-largest Medicaid insurer in Pennsylvania. (Highmark originally held a 50% stake in the company). Gateway’s offerings will be rebranded as Highmark Wholecare. With these deals bringing its overall enrollment up to about 4.6 million lives, Highmark has become the fifth-largest Blues affiliate in the U.S., according to AIS’s Directory of Health Plans.