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HEALTHAMERICA TO ACQUIRE RIVERSIDE HEALTH PLAN

 PITTSBURGH, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- HealthAmerica announced today that it has reached an agreement in principle to purchase Riverside Health Plan, the 16,200-member HMO which has served Beaver County subscribers since 1986.
 The acquisition, which is subject to final negotiations and necessary state approvals, is expected to be completed in early 1993.
 The board of directors of the Riverside Plan, and the board of its parent, The Medical Center HPJV, Inc., approved the sale Tuesday night.
 HealthAmerica, the area's largest health maintenance organization, provides health care benefits through 2,100 employers in southwestern Pennsylvania. When the acquisition is complete, HealthAmerica will have approximately 172,000 HMO members. It also provides health insurance benefits through a related company, HealthAssurance for 215 other employers in the area. HealthAssurance is a Preferred Provider Organization, or PPO.
 Michael Blackwood, president and chief executive officer of HealthAmerica, said the acquisition fills in one of the last remaining gaps in the company's extensive managed care network, which includes eight health centers, 540 primary care physicians, more than 1,000 specialists, and 25 hospitals in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
 "The acquisition has strategic importance," Blackwood said, "for two reasons. With the addition of Riverside's physicians, we will have the largest network of primary care physicians in western Pennsylvania. That makes our HMO and our PPO even more attractive for the many employers who are expected to adopt managed care plans as a replacement for their standard insurance program over the next several years."
 The other reason the acquisition is important from a strategic standpoint, Blackwood said, is that two of HealthAmerica's largest accounts, USAir and Penn State University, have a heavy concentration of employees in Beaver County. USAir offered HealthAmerica as an option to its employees for the first time last month. Penn State, which has a campus in Beaver, turns its entire health insurance program over to HealthAmerica on a statewide basis next month. Blackwood said HealthAmerica plans to retain Riverside's primary care physicians and will add The Medical Center to its hospital network. Riverside members will not have to change physicians.
 "The transition should be virtually transparent to Riverside members," Blackwood said. "They will continue with the same health care benefits and premiums they have now, and won't even need new ID cards. HealthAmerica also expects to offer Riverside's accounts a comparable benefits package when their contract comes up for renewal in 1993."
 HealthAmerica is owned by Coventry Corporation (NASDAQ: CVTY), a managed health care company that provides a wide range of health care benefit options to a broad cross-section of employer groups through three market-leading HMOs in southwestern Pennsylvania, central Pennsylvania and St. Louis. Coventry, whose shares are traded on the NASDAQ exchange, has been ranked among the top 30 of the 100 fastest-growing companies in the United States each of the past two years by Fortune magazine.
 Health Plan Management Services, a subsidiary of John Hancock Financial Services, which evaluates managed care plans for employers on a nationwide basis, consistently ranks HealthAmerica as the number one plan in western Pennsylvania.
 -0- 12/21/92
 /CONTACT: Thomas J. Murray, vice president, marketing, of HealthAmerica, 412-553-7300/
 (CVTY)


CO: HealthAmerica; Riverside Health Plan; The Medical Center, HPJV,
 Inc.; Coventry Corporation ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA INS SU: TNM


CD-MK -- PG001 -- 8622 12/21/92 09:06 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 21, 1992
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