UPMC, Highmark work out patient protection details

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Details are being finalized in an agreement that would allow some Highmark insurance enrollees to continue getting help from UPMC doctors under certain circumstances after a contract between the two western Pennsylvania health care giants ends Jan. 1.

An announcement had been expected Thursday afternoon by Gov. Tom Corbett and Attorney General Kathleen Kane, but Corbett said it was not ready to discuss.

Most Highmark subscribers otherwise stand to lose in-network access to UPMC doctors and hospitals when the contract ends Dec. 31, meaning they'd pay higher rates.

UPMC is western Pennsylvania's dominant network, with 22 hospitals and 400 outpatient sites. It complains that Highmark is now a competitor, since the insurer recently acquired seven area hospitals from Erie to Pittsburgh.

Highmark insurance covers 3.2 million people in western Pennsylvania.

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