HARRISBURG, Pa., April 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Wolf Administration and the Office of the Attorney General today filed a motion in Commonwealth Court to protect seniors who rely on Medicare Advantage by enforcing the Consent Decrees entered into by UPMC and Highmark, and to force the two sides into arbitration to settle outstanding disputes to end the confusion for consumers.
"I will not allow our most vulnerable citizens, especially seniors, to be used as pawns in the dispute between UPMC and Highmark," said Governor Wolf. "UPMC's decision to cancel Medicare Advantage for over 180,000 seniors was the final straw after my administration's repeated attempts to resolve differences in good faith. After reviewing all options with the Office of Attorney General, the Commonwealth has decided to pursue this matter in court to protect seniors."
"Additionally, as a result of myriad issues, and the reality that UPMC and Highmark will not come to agreement on the issues laid out in the Consent Decrees, the Commonwealth is seeking to force the two sides into arbitration," continued Governor Wolf. "Consumers, including seniors and people with cancer, have had enough, and the games between UPMC and Highmark must end. I am committed to protecting consumers and I believe that arbitration will bring stability to the market place. I am hopeful that we can find a solution that suits both sides, but most importantly, one that puts consumers first."
"We're taking this action because these constant disputes have created confusion and uncertainty for consumers — especially seniors," Attorney General Kane said. "We will remain vigilant in ensuring the interests of health care consumers continue to be protected."
Recently, UPMC decided to cancel its Medicare Advantage plan with Highmark, putting over 180,000 seniors at risk of losing access to their doctors. This is the latest dispute between the two sides that have put our most vulnerable, including seniors and people with cancer, in the middle. The Commonwealth has worked tirelessly with UPMC and Highmark to mediate their serial disputes to ensure compliance with the Consent Decrees. Unfortunately, both sides have refused to comply with the terms of the Consent Decrees and their refusal has resulted in confusion and hardship among Pennsylvania residents.
"Following through on Governor Wolf's commitment to protect Pennsylvania's most vulnerable citizens, my department will continue vigorous enforcement of the Consent Decrees, and hope the arbitration process will help further define the consumer protections to which UPMC and Highmark customers are entitled," said Acting Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller.
MEDIA CONTACT: Jeff Sheridan – 717.783.1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor