Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is happening between Catholic Health and Highmark?

Catholic Health is committed to negotiating in good faith toward a new agreement that keeps our providers in network with Highmark. Our goal remains to provide top-quality services and care to all Western New Yorkers. That is why they are working diligently to get Highmark to negotiate a new agreement and prevent potential network disruption for patients with Highmark health plans.

If Highmark is unwilling to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, we will be forced out of Highmark’s provider network effective January 1, 2023.

When will the contract with Highmark end?

If Highmark is unwilling to agree to a new contract that will pay Catholic Health fairly for services provided to their members, the current contract will end at midnight on December 31, 2022.

Importantly, patients who have a Highmark health plan will continue to be able to access care at Catholic Health facilities at in-network rates until February 28, 2023. This grace period should allow patients to transition as needed to avoid paying out-of-network rates.

Which Highmark health plans are affected by the negotiations?

All commercial, Essential and Medicare Highmark health plans are affected by the termination.

  • Senior Blue, BlueSaver, Freedom Nation, Forever Blue Medicare plans
  • Classic HMO, PPO, POS, Apex, EX Commercial Plans
  • Essential Plans
Which facilities and/or providers are impacted by the negotiations:

All Catholic Health facilities and providers are affected by the negotiation. For a list of Catholic Health providers, please visit www.chsbuffalo.org/locations

Along with quality funding of Catholic Medical Partners, our 900 affiliated provider partners, from these locations www.catholicmedicalpartners.org/s/provider-locator

I have a Highmark health plan. What does this mean for me?

For right now, nothing changes. You can and should continue seeing your Catholic Health providers as you normally do. However, if we do not get an agreement with Highmark before December 31, 2022, your in-network access to your trusted Catholic Health providers will end effective February 28, 2023.

Regardless of our contract status with Highmark, patients will always have in-network access to our emergency rooms. If you experience an emergency, you should always visit the nearest emergency room. You are our highest priority.

What can I do to ensure I have continued in-network access to Catholic Health and Highmark pays Catholic Medical Partners providers fairly?

If you have Commercial insurance through your employer: Meet with your HR or Benefits Manager to encourage them to talk to Highmark and urge them to work with us to protect your in-network access to your trusted Catholic Health providers. Coordinate with them to understand your options both during and outside of the benefits enrollment period for 2023.

If you have insurance through Medicare: We encourage you to consult with your broker, a trusted family member, or caregiver during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, now through December 7, 2022, to find learn about other plan options that will ensure guaranteed, in-network access to Catholic Health for the coming year.

How can I stay up to date on the progress of the negotiation?

We have this dedicated website to ensure you—our patients —have the most up-to-date information regarding our negotiations. If you didn’t find the answers you’re looking for or have questions about the negotiations with Highmark and how your care may be impacted, please call us at (716) 314-8504.

 *If you are a patient and have inquiries regarding assistance in paying a bill or payment plan options, please e-mail us at HighmarkQuestions@chsbuffalo.org.

Take Action Now:

Call Highmark

Call the number on the back of your health insurance card or 1-800-544-2583 and let them know how important it is for you to have access to the providers you want, when you want it. Tell them to work this out with Catholic Health and prevent potential network disruption with your 2023 plan.

Share Your Concerns

Contact the New York Department of Financial Services, which oversees insurance companies operating in New York, if you have any issues with Highmark’s actions by filing a complaint at https://www.dfs.ny.gov/complaint.

Consider Your Options

As you’re making decisions about your health plan options for 2023, ask your trusted advisor, broker, or HR benefits manager about health plan options that protect your in-network access to the high-quality care provide at Catholic Health facilities, and by our more than 900 affiliated provider partners. We are currently participating with many other major insurance plans in New York.

Take Action Now:

Call Highmark

Call the number on the back of your health insurance card or 1-800-544-2583 and let them know how important it is for you to have access to the providers you want, when you want it. Tell them to work this out with Catholic Health and prevent potential network disruption with your 2023 plan.

Share Your Concerns

Contact the New York Department of Financial Services, which oversees insurance companies operating in New York, if you have any issues with Highmark’s actions by filing a complaint at https://www.dfs.ny.gov/complaint.

Consider Your Options

As you’re making decisions about your health plan options for 2023, ask your trusted advisor, broker, or HR benefits manager about health plan options that protect your in-network access to the high-quality care provide at Catholic Health facilities, and by our more than 900 affiliated provider partners. We are currently participating with many other major insurance plans in New York.