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.

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.

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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