Health coverage negotiations continue between UMMC, Blue Cross Blue Shield
CBS - 12 WJTV (Jackson, MS)
JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The ongoing dispute between the state's largest health insurance provider and hospital has impacted thousands across the state.
With little movement made between the Blue Cross Blue Shield and the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said negotiations are still ongoing.
"The negotiations as of July 1 are the same as they were basically on June 2 they're still moving at a snails pace," said Chaney. "I'm cautiously optimistic that things will workout simply because as of today Blue Cross is out of network with the neo-natal units, they're out of network with the transplant unit, child's care, the sickle cell anemia program, heart, kidney, lung and liver transplant program and all the relationships that UMMC has with other facilities around the state."
Chaney urged those being turned away for treatment to call the insurance department at 1-800-562-2957.
The Mississippi State Medical Association's issued the following statement about UMMC's ongoing removal from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi's network:
"The Mississippi State Medical Association (MSMA) has long fought for physicians and most importantly, the patients in our great state. However, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi's corporate greed on multiple issues, including prior authorizations, access to care, reimbursement cuts, and telemedicine has made that fight increasingly difficult.
As countless Mississippi families recover from the physical and financial toll of the pandemic, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi struck another blow to Mississippi patients recently by removing the state's largest medical provider, the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), from its network.
Removing UMMC as an in-network provider means patients are forced to pay more for out-of-network care. For many, this is simply not an option. Moreover, patients in multiple medical specialties – including pediatrics at the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital and transplant services – are left without another alternative for these specialized healthcare services in the state. Because of these unnecessary barriers, continuity of care is compromised for all patients in the state who have been forced to seek other in-network providers or be referred to out-of-state healthcare entities for the specialized services that only UMMC provides.
Ultimately, Blue Cross has no other concern than to increase its bottom line. And that bottom line is increasing at the cost of its insureds' health, safety, and well-being.
The Mississippi State Medical Association Board of Trustees is calling on Blue Cross Blue Shield to do the right thing for patients and physicians by prioritizing people over profits. Blue Cross Blue Shield should take all necessary steps to get UMMC back in its network and restore access to healthcare for thousands of Mississippians."