Highmark keeps 43,000 school employees in contract fight with UPMC
About 43,000 public school employees and their families in Allegheny County will lose in-network access to UPMC and the hospital giant's doctors starting on Jan. 1.
The Allegheny County Schools Health Insurance Consortium, which negotiates health coverage for 42 school districts, said it will keep Highmark Inc. as its exclusive insurance carrier through June 30, 2018, despite the pending expiration of the insurer's contract with UPMC at the end of this year.
“Our objective is to ensure that we get the best value for our member schools and Highmark provides that for us,” Jan Klein, the consortium's chairwoman, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“We have had a longstanding partnership with Highmark, and we believe that Highmark will continue to offer the best health care coverage and service for our 43,000 members and their families,” Klein said.
In addition to every school district in Allegheny County except City of Pittsburgh Schools and North Allegheny School District, the consortium provides coverage for four vocational-technical schools, two community colleges and two intermediate units.
The consortium is the second major employer in the region to publicly announce plans to stay with Highmark after the contract ends. Allegheny County last month said its 15,000 employees and their families will remain covered by the state's largest health insurer for the next two years, and receive an $10 million-a-year discount from Highmark.
UPMC is refusing to negotiate a new contract with Highmark because the insurer created a competing hospital system, Allegheny Health Network, last year. When the contract ends, Highmark insurance subscribers will have to pay higher out-of-network charges to go to most of UPMC's 20 hospitals and 3,500 doctors.
“We are confident that the Allegheny Health Network, local community hospitals and doctors, and the national Blue Cross and Blue Shield network provide our members and their families exceptional and extensive options to meet their health care needs,” Klein said.
Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Alex Nixon to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Auto sales heat up in July on steep discounts
- Rise in pickup truck sales a good sign for economy
- Fix-a-flat a remedy in a pinch
- Auto review: Maserati Ghibli a sedan that awakens the senses
- Towing standard finally set
- SEC closes probe of Citi mortgage bonds
- HP to pay $32.5M to settle Postal Service dispute
- Hyundai recalls over 419K vehicles
- Harley recalls bikes for ignition switch problem
- Auto review: Grand Cherokee goes the distance
- Westinghouse wins deal to build nuclear power plant in Bulgaria