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The Daily Planet's Opinion: January 2018
Tuesday, 02 January 2018 11:23

Mission Health, Blue Cross reach agreement (Hurray!)

We are pleased, as are (no doubt) the estimated 260,000 people whose health care became really expensive or was postponed over the last two months, with the Dec. 6 announcement by Mission Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina that they had agreed to the terms of a new contract that became effective Dec. 15.

The much-publicized, highly contentious, six-month standoff began when the hospital system canceled its contract with Blue Cross over concerns over rising health care costs. Blue Cross refused to negotiate with Mission after the latter’s notice of termination was filed in July, resulting in a two-month contract expiration.

During the period when the contract lapsed, those with Blue Cross coverage who had medical needs faced the grim reality of having to pay the resulting significantly higher “out-of-network” costs to use Mission Health, to travel elsewhere for care with “in-network” coverage or to postpone medical care until an agreement was reached.

Both Mission and Blue Cross are near-monopolies in Western North Carolina, so their dispute, its fallout and now its resolution affect many residents and businesses. Unfortunately, neither Mission nor BCBSNC would unveil details of their new pact, so whether Mission accomplished its original aim is an huge unknown. It would be a shame if  Mission’s standoff was in vain and needlessly inconvienced or endangered those in need.

But looking on the bright side, at least with the new contract, BCBSNC customers can pay the less-pricey “in-network” fees when they receive care at Mission.



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