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Format: 04/23/2014
Format: 04/23/2014

News

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Federal judge rules UPMC, Highmark, not monopolizing market.

Friday, October 30th, 2009

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed West Penn Allegheny Health System's lawsuit that claimed the top hospital and health insurer in the region conspired to monopolize the market.

The antitrust lawsuit against University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Highmark Inc. is "long on innuendo" and frequently repeats the buzzword "conspired" but "falls short on any plausible facts to support its bald allegations," U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab wrote in explaining his ruling.

UPMC and Highmark praised the decision.

West Penn Allegheny can pursue the case in state court or appeal the decision, Schwab ruled.

"We respectfully disagree with the court's opinion. We are reviewing the decision and considering our next step," said West Penn spokesman Dan Laurent.

Highmark spokesman Michael Weinstein said the judge's ruling "reinforces Highmark's position that (West Penn) failed to provide sufficient facts to support its federal antitrust claims, that it did not suffer any injury under the federal antitrust laws and that it overlooked facts demonstrating that Highmark made independent business decisions consistent with the interests of its subscribers and group customers."

UPMC spokesman Paul Wood said: "UPMC is pleased with the court's decision today to dismiss (West Penn's) unfounded claims."

West Penn claimed the defendants worked together to drive out and keep out each other's competitors in the hospital and health-insurance industries.

Specifically, West Penn said UPMC bills Highmark less than it charges other insurance companies for medical services and, in turn, Highmark pays UPMC more for procedures than it pays West Penn. Consequently, other insurers can't afford to compete with Highmark, and West Penn
 

 

To read more, visit the Tribune-Review web site.

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