Pittsburgh-based health insurer Highmark, Inc. is trying to clarify reports by some local media about an effort to acquire the West Penn Allegheny Health System which would put the company into even greater competition with UPMC as both an insurer and a care provider.
Highmark issued a statement saying it is always interested in having discussions with key stakeholder and "looking for ways to improve the efficiency and quality of the region’s health care system. While the West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) is a vital element of the local health care system, Highmark does not have a deal to acquire WPAHS at this time."
The statement went on to say that for decades the company has encouraged competition among multiple health care delivery systems.
" Highmark has historically supported an inclusive hospital network that includes a broad mix of advanced care and community hospitals to meet the medical needs of its members."
Highmark's current contract with UPMC expires June 30, 2012.
" Contrary to some media reports, under the terms of the current agreement, Highmark members will continue to have access to UPMC hospital services through June 30, 2013. Highmark is continuing contract discussions with UPMC with the goal of finalizing an agreement, which will preserve provider choice and broad access to UPMC for Highmark members into the future."
Highmark has about 4.8 million insurance subscribers, three times that of UPMC.