Highmark filed suit in July asking the court to halt UPMC's advertising regarding the end of its Highmark contract on June 30, 2012. UPMC filed a motion to dismiss the case in August; that motion is still pending, according to the magistrate's report.
Highmark and UPMC have differing interpretations over what will happen when their 10-year contract runs out. Highmark contends, as it did in a statement responding to today's report, that its members will be able to receive services from UPMC hospitals and physicians through June 30, 2013, under a one-year “run-out” provision in the contract. UPMC's position, according to the magistrate's report, is that Highmark members will require prior approval to use UPMC hospitals at in-network rates for the year ending June 30, 2013, and that, moreover, the contracts for UPMC physician services don't have the run-out provision and are terminable 60 days after June 30, 2012.
In its statement, Highmark noted that the report is preliminary and does not bind U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti as she rules on what Highmark called “UPMC's false advertising claim.” In its statement, UPMC contended that the recommendation “is a demonstration of Highmark's failed attempt to use legal process to confuse the public, ultimately causing uncertainty and anxiety for patients, physicians, employers and subscribers.”