Sept. 10--Highmark Inc. will launch a new, narrow-network health insurance plan on Jan. 1, which won't include most UPMC hospitals and physicians, but could cost 25 percent less than a plan with broader access.
The plan, Community Blue, will be available in the 29 counties of Western Pennsylvania and include access to 50 hospitals, 7,600 primary care physicians and doctors in every medical specialty.
"Community Blue will give members the ability to maintain a broad choice of doctors and hospitals, while achieving high-quality, lower-cost health care," said Deborah Rice, executive vice president.
"While the cost for group customers will depend on a variety of factors, we anticipate that Community Blue products can be up to 25 percent less than current products with a broader network," Rice said.
Highmark, the state's largest health insurer, eliminated a previous Community Blue plan in 2004. The plan had 220,000 members, or about 7 percent of Highmark's 3.1 million members at the time.
The insurer had 4.9 million members at the beginning of this year.
Highmark said in May that it planned to bring back the product after reaching agreement with UPMC on an extended reimbursement contract for existing Highmark members that gives them access to UPMC hospitals and doctors until the end of 2014.
UPMC, the dominant health system in Western Pennsylvania, owns 19 hospitals and employs more than 3,200 physicians.
Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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