Gov. Wolf; A.G. Shapiro Laud New UPMC/Highmark Deal

'On both sides there is an option to pick a plan that gives you access to the other’s institution'

Larry Richert and John Shumway
June 25, 2019 - 9:45 am

Commonwealth Media Services

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Related: UPMC And Highmark Announce 10-Year Contract

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - The new deal between UPMC and Highmark is a victory for patients that could set a new precedent for choice in health care. 

The 10 year deal not only puts to bed years of tension and debate between the two health care giants, it also gives customers of both insurers, the best of both worlds.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro explained Tuesday on KDKA Radio with Larry and John, “On both sides there is an option to pick a plan that gives you access to the other’s institution and that was at risk, that choice, that option.”

Governor Tom Wolf says this deal might even serve as a template.

“This is a precedent, a model for the rest of the state,” said Wolf. “Everybody’s going to go through this kind of consolidation. Western Pennsylvania just went through it first.”

Wolf says while the lawsuit brought by Shapiro was a primary force to get UPMC and Highmark to work with each other, there was more at play to get them together.

“The two sides were persuaded by public opinion and in the end they’re serving customers and they have to attract customers and they can’t be indifferent to the feelings of those consumers,” said Wolf.

Shapiro says he believes there's a new understanding of cooperation and collaboration between the health care giants.

“We’re all so used to watching them fight,” said Shapiro. “I think this is a new day and watching them work together is going to be really positive.”

The new agreement is for ten years and gives continued access to UPMC facilities and doctors to Highmark-insured patients. 

Shapiro says he wanted a 10 year deal, not another five year agreement, due to the history of tension between the two insurers.

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