Health insurer Aetna and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center(UPMC) have entered into contract to include all of UPMC's hospitals and affiliated physicians in Aetna's Western Pennsylvania network.

Under this new agreement, effective 1 July, Aetna commercial plans members will be able to receive covered services, at in-network rates, from the entire network of UPMC facilities and providers.

Nearly 1,700 primary care and specialist physicians employed by UPMC also will join the Aetna network, bringing to nearly 2,900 the number of UPMC physicians that Aetna members can access.

The insurer said that the agreement does not apply to members of its Medicare Advantage plans. Aetna’s Medicare Advantage network will continue to offer access to some UPMC facilities and physicians.

UPMC vice president, payor contract services Joseph Chuba said this agreement benefits employers and subscribers throughout western Pennsylvania by enhancing choice and competition in the insurance market and ensures Aetna customers have access to the highest-quality, most cost-effective, patient-focused health care available in the region.