Myth 1: Highmark says that with a systemwide contract its subscribers will have affordable in-network access to all local UPMC doctors and hospitals.
Not True. Highmark will put UPMC in its most expensive “tier,” as it did with central Pennsylvania's Geisinger Health System, and then heap increased co-pays, higher deductibles, and all kinds of other extra charges on patients who would prefer to use UPMC instead of Allegheny Health Network. Highmark won’t let anyone have affordable in-network access to UPMC after 2014. Not even its own members.
Myth 2: Highmark says UPMC will deny access to millions of patients who are Highmark subscribers.
Incorrect. Access and affordability for seniors, children, and patients with Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP will not be affected by changes in the commercial contracts between UPMC and Highmark. And every day, more companies are offering employees new options for their health insurance — giving them the power to choose the UPMC doctors and hospitals they want. By 2015, everyone in western Pennsylvania will be able to choose affordable access to UPMC.
Myth 3: A systemwide contract between UPMC and Highmark is good for the community.
False. Highmark’s own studies indicated that the already failing West Penn Allegheny Health System would be further damaged with a UPMC contract after 2014. While abandoning its plan to save WPAHS, Highmark also wants a UPMC contract to create a combination that will result in its complete control of all health care in western Pennsylvania — insurance, hospitals, and physicians. This will not survive anti-trust scrutiny.
Everyone will be harmed by Highmark’s plan with little choice and competition, making double-digit increases in health insurance premiums inevitable.
Myth 4: State government should intevene in the UPMC/Highmark contract dispute.
Bad Idea. Increased government intrusion and control in the western Pennsylvania health care marketplace would stifle competition and choice, while raising costs for us all. Haven't we all seen the problems caused by more government intervention into our health care?