In the Jan. 29 article “New Bill Aims to Soothe Health Provider Rancor,” a potential law that would grant the state insurance commissioner the power to extend the UPMC-Highmark contract for six months as well as commit both parties to binding arbitration to create a new contract (lasting 18 months) is discussed. While the current agreement expires at the end of 2014, individuals and companies will be selecting their providers for the next year well before December.
If legislators act quickly to pass this bill, insurance plans from both parties can be directly compared prior to purchase. If too much time passes, plans will have to be bought based on some speculation or hope of a new contract. Without a new agreement, Pittsburghers will be forced to gamble with their health insurance and choose either UPMC or Highmark. Sadly, neither decision promises to be the winning side for their health.
The writer is a student in the health law program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.