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UPMC, Highmark Deal Has Many Breathing Easier For Now

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Paul Martino Paul Martino
Paul joined KDKA-TV in 1984 as a general assignment reporter and later...
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CBS Pittsburgh (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSPittsburgh.com/ACA

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s been a nasty battle for months, and has caused some big fears for patients, employers and doctors; but now, there’s a deal between UPMC and Highmark.

And it means millions of people insured by Highmark can still get the in-network rate at UPMC.

Healthcare provider UPMC said it would no longer accept Highmark insurance in-network. It meant Highmark customers would pay a huge premium for UPMC doctors and hospitals.

For the folks caught in the middle, it made little sense.

“It’s asinine. That should have never even existed,” said Alice Muhammed, of Homewood. “If they’re for the people here then it should be affordable for everybody.”

“It just seemed like they’re both very well off,” added Pat Monahan, of Greensburg. “They both make a lot of money. They can’t seem to figure how to work together.”

But a deal has finally been struck between the two healthcare giants in the Pittsburgh region, following pressure from the legislature and the Governor.

“The dispute between these two Western Pennsylvania institutions was a cause of great uncertainty and troubling anxiety to many in Western Pennsylvania, from individuals to businesses to associations,” said Gov. Tom Corbett. “I believe we can all breathe easier now.”

The deal means UPMC’s doctors and medical centers will remain in Highmark’s network through the end of 2014.

It also means many people with Highmark insurance can rest a little easier.

“It is good news that we don’t have to switch kid doctors or the doctors that we currently use,” said Kelly Morgano, of Squirrel Hill.

The deal only lasts until the end of 2014. Both say the extension provides more time for patients to make arrangements for care after that date.

But at least for the next couple of years, Highmark customers will have access to UPMC at more affordable, in-network rates.

RELATED LINKS:
Corbett Announces Agreement Extension Between Highmark, UPMC (5/2/12)
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