New data threaten deal with Highmark
A proposed settlement between ratepayers and Highmark, which would have set the stage for further litigation against UPMC, appeared to be in critical condition Friday as the plaintiffs motioned to cancel it, claiming they were misled. Attorneys for Royal Mile Co., Cole's Wexford Hotel and Pamela Lang—who in 2010 sued the region's biggest hospital system and biggest insurer, alleging price gouging—had been poised to settle with Highmark. The insurer had pledged $4.5 million to cover the plaintiffs' legal costs, a trove of documents they could use against UPMC, and two measures portrayed as spurs to competition. Those measures: Highmark would not give some medical providers higher reimbursements than others through 2014; and Highmark would guarantee to continue to offer its low-cost Community Blue product.
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