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Heart of Lancaster and Lancaster Regional Join Highmark Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Network
Date:1/30/2008

LANCASTER, Pa., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of Highmark's FreedomBlue Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) may now enjoy increased health care options. Effective immediately, both routine and emergency medical services will be covered at Heart of Lancaster and Lancaster Regional hospitals.

"We're pleased to partner with Highmark and we're pleased to offer increased options and high-quality health care to people with Medicare in the surrounding areas," said J. Michael Cowling, CEO. "By covering health care services under Highmark's FreedomBlue PPO product, Heart of Lancaster and Lancaster Regional are better positioned to participate in every major insurance plan offered in our service area."

There are approximately 78,572 Medicare eligible residents residing in Lancaster County served by the hospitals, according to a recent census.

"Medicare Advantage plans like FreedomBlue PPO are smart choices for people with Medicare because they offer expanded health care options that traditional Medicare and Medicare Supplement plans do not," said Cynthia Dellecker, Highmark's senior vice president for senior products. "FreedomBlue PPO offers Medicare prescription coverage, disease management and wellness programs, such as exercise programs that add real value to our plans."

Highmark's FreedomBlue PPO allows members to receive care from any health care provider or facility they choose, in or out of Highmark's hospital network, as long as the provider accepts Medicare.

Since Heart of Lancaster and Lancaster Regional hospitals are now in the network, services will now be paid at the highest level of coverage. Eligible care received out-of-network is reimbursed at a lower level, with the exception of emergency care and urgently needed care, which are always paid at the higher level of benefits.

About Highmark Blue Shield

As one of the state's leading health insurers and with nearly 70 years of community involvement, Highmark Blue Shield helps members live longer, healthier lives by ensuring access to affordable, high-quality health insurance and services. Highmark offers the widest range of products, access to area hospitals and knowledgeable, responsive customer services.

Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark's positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. Highmark Blue Shield employs more than 5,000 people in Central Pennsylvania and provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health.

Highmark Blue Shield is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information about Highmark Blue Shield, visit http://www.highmark.com.


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SOURCE Highmark Blue Shield
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