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UPMC agrees to tentative settlement in long-running antitrust case

| Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, 6:51 p.m.

UPMC has tentatively agreed to pay $12.5 million to settle its involvement in a long-running antitrust lawsuit, according to court documents filed Friday.

Cole's Wexford Hotel Inc. is the only remaining plaintiff in a six-year-old lawsuit originally filed by Royal Mile Co., a Whitehall property management company. The lawsuit claims that UPMC and Highmark Inc. conspired to keep insurance competitors out of Western Pennsylvania.

UPMC and Highmark deny the allegations.

UPMC spokeswoman Gloria Kreps declined to comment.

Representatives of Highmark and Cole's Wexford Hotel couldn't be reached for comment.

The proposal was mentioned in a motion by UPMC and Cole's Wexford asking U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti to put the lawsuit on hold for 90 days while they work out the final details of the settlement. Staying the case would save both sides money in pretrial costs.

The settlement, which doesn't include Highmark, would reimburse the Pine hotel and other small-group health insurance subscribers who obtained coverage from Highmark Health Insurance Co., a for-profit subsidiary of the nonprofit insurer, or any of its other for-profit subsidiaries between July 1, 2010, and March 21, 2012.

By keeping competitors out of the market, the UPMC-Highmark conspiracy allowed the for-profit subsidiaries to overcharge customers on their premiums, the lawsuit says.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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