Highmark to launch new insurance plan
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Highmark Inc.'s revived "Community Blue" health insurance plan will give subscribers a lower-cost, "select network" of 50 hospitals and 7,600 physicians and specialists to choose from, starting Jan. 1., according to the company.
The plan's launch marks the company's push for limited networks that offer less provider access, but at a lower cost.
Most UPMC hospitals will be considered "out of network," however. A few of UPMC's specialty hospitals, such as Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic will be considered in-network, as will a few UPMC hospitals in distant counties.
In a news release issued today, Deborah Rice, Highmark's president of health services, said "Community Blue will give members the ability to maintain a broad choice of doctors and hospitals, while achieving high-quality, lower-cost health care."
Highmark's old Community Blue plan was popular, but it was eliminated a decade ago when UPMC and Highmark agreed to a 10-year contract in 2002.
When the two parties agreed to a contract extension earlier this year, through the end of 2014, part of that agreement was a deal that would allow Highmark to offer products in which UPMC hospitals were out-of-network.
The new version of Community Blue will be available to both group buyers and individuals.
To see which providers will be part of the Community Blue network, go to: www.highmark.com/hmk2/newsroom/pressreleases/2012/pdf/communiitybluehospitals.pdf
First Published September 10, 2012 1:33 pm