State Sen. Donald C. White said today he's asking federal officials for help to re-examine the proposed merger of Philadelphia's Independence Blue Cross and Highmark Inc., of Pittsburgh.

White, a Republican from Indiana County, asked U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) to urge the Federal Trade Commission and and gthe Department of Justice to look at the merger plan again.

Both federal agencies approved the merger last year, before the health insurers submitted many documents to the state department of insurance as part of its review process.

White, who is chairman of the Pennsylvania Senate's banking and insurance committee, has invited the Justice Department to send a representative to explain its review process to his committee.

The state insurance department has the authority to permit the merger of subsidiaries of the two "Blue" insurers. The merger would create the largest health insurer in the state as well as one of the largest in the nation.

White has made his living as an insurance broker.

Contact staff writer Jane M. Von Bergen at 215-854-2769 or jvonbergen@phillynews.com.