© 2022 90.5 WESA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
WESA's radio signal is down in New Baltimore. We are working on a fix.
Health--it's what we all have in common: whether we're trying to maintain our health through good habits or improve our failing health. "Bridges to Health" is 90.5 WESA's health care reporting initiative examining everything from unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act to transparency in health care costs; from a lack of access to quality care for minority members of our society to confronting the opioid crisis in our region. It's about our individual health and the well-being of our community.Health care coverage on 90.5 WESA is made possible in part by a grant from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.

Judge Rules Highmark's Medicare Patients Get UPMC In-Network Coverage Through 2019

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

Highmark’s Medicare costumers can continue receiving in-network care from nine UPMC hospitals until the end of 2019, due to a Monday ruling by Commonwealth Court Senior Judge Dan Pellegrini.

UPMC had argued that like others with Highmark insurance, people with Highmark’s Medicare Advantage plans should stop receiving this care in July of 2019.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 and older. Some 140,000 people in western Pennsylvania have coverage through the program.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro argued successfully on behalf of Highmark that Medicare patients should get longer access from UPMC.

“I’m especially happy for the more than 140,000 seniors in western Pennsylvania who are going to have greater predictability in their health care, have access in their health care, and be able to control their costs for longer,” said Shapiro.

90.5 WESA was unable to reach UPMC for comment, but officials with UPMC told other news outlets it intends to appeal.

Earlier this month, the two companies reached a separate five-year agreement allowing Highmark customers to receive in-network care from select UPMC facilities after June 30, 2019.  

Sarah Boden covers health and science for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio where she covered a range of issues, including the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.