PITTSBURGH (AP) – A Western Pennsylvania health insurance giant will have to pay a dozen hospitals money that it withheld, a judge is ruling.

Allegheny County Judge Stanton Wettick ruled Friday that Highmark violated its agreements with the hospitals when it passed along a 2 percent reimbursement reduction starting Jan. 1, 2014.

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It cut the reimbursements after the federal government reduced Medicare Advantage payments to the insurer as part of federal spending cuts.

A Highmark spokesman says lawyers are reviewing the decision and had no immediate comment.

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The hospitals include St. Clair, Westmoreland Regional, Butler Memorial, Frick, Indiana Regional Medical Center, Latrobe Area, Jameson and the Washington Hospital.

The judge set a May 20 status conference to discuss damages.

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