Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska says it is currently in negotiations over a new payment agreement with Catholic Health Initiatives, which owns several Nebraska hospitals, including Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney and Saint Francis Medical Center in Grand Island.
The insurance company has notified Catholic Health Initiatives that it plans to terminate its contract at the end of August if an agreement can't be reached.
"While other health care providers in our statewide network have worked with us to control rising health care costs, that has not been the case with CHI, and particularly Alegent Creighton," BCBSNE said in a letter to its members. Lee Handke, BCBSNE senior vice president, says it is Alegent Creighton providers in particular that cost significantly more than others, and he says they continue to ask for annual increases.
“We remain hopeful we can reach an agreement before the August 31st deadline. The contracts we negotiate with our providers directly impact what we all pay for medical care," said Handke. "Our goal is to do everything we can to help control health care costs for our members.”
The 700,000 people insured by Blue Cross will be able to continue seeing doctors affiliated with the Catholic Health network at least through Aug. 31.
If an agreement is not reached by August 31, members will be notified in advance and some members with certain medical conditions may still be eligible to receive in-network benefits with their current physician for a period of time, according to BCBSNE's letter to its members.