HARRISBURG (April 13, 2018) –After years of hard work, State Sen. Michele Brooks announced that an essential agreement between UPMC Horizon and Highmark will be extended for five more years, allowing patients with Highmark health insurance to continue to see their preferred health care providers at UPMC Horizon at in-network rates.
The existing agreement between UPMC Horizon and Highmark was scheduled to expire in 2019, but after seeing that UPMC Horizon was omitted from a list of in-network facilities included as part of a January 4 extension agreement, she negotiated with Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman, UPMC, and Highmark officials to extend that date until at least 2024 for UPMC Horizon.
“It has been a top priority of mine to keep UPMC Horizon in-network for thousands of individuals and families who have Highmark insurance,” Brooks said. “When a family is struggling with a serious illness or facing a grim prognosis, the last thing they need to worry about is what kind of insurance they have or whether their doctor is in-network.”
“If this change had not taken place, patients with Highmark insurance in some parts of my district would have had to drive between 30 minutes to an hour to get to an in-network hospital or doctor. Or, they could have faced crushing medical bills for care that was considered out-of-network. That is just not acceptable to me.”
“This is a hard-fought victory, and I thank each and every party to this agreement, including Commissioner Altman, for working with me to arrive at this solution. Still, this issue is not over for this region and for me,” Brooks said. “I will continue to work to help the residents of my district cope with a rapidly changing health care landscape. It’s already difficult for patients to cope with changes in UPMC doctors and facilities. They don’t need to cope with fears about losing in-network insurance or the doctor they have seen and trusted for years.”