SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - If you have Blue Cross Blue Shield, in less than two weeks, care at Memorial Heath may no longer be covered.
The contract between the insurance company and HCA hospitals in Georgia, including Memorial Health, expires on Sept. 30. Memorial Health says, as of Tuesday, there is no update on contract negotiations with Blue Cross Blue Shield. A local insurance broker says now is the time to contact the company or your agent if you have questions.
David Rubnitz says this kind of standstill can be common with providers and insurance companies.
“Unfortunately, they end up playing hardball back and forth with each other and the patient is caught in the middle of it until they get it all figured out” said Rubnitz, who is the managing director of Eben Concepts.
He expects Blue Cross Blue Shield and Hospital Corporation of America to come to some sort of agreement, but said it can be costly for patients if they don’t.
“You’re going to owe a lot more money,” Rubnitz said. “If you’re on an HMO plan,then you’re going to owe the whole thing.”
His agency alone represents thousands of people who could be affected.
“I would think probably 90 percent, they’re going to work this thing out, but I would not want to tell someone to go to Memorial Health in the meantime because you could end up owing an awful lot of money if you do,” he said.
Blue Cross Blue Shield released a statement saying its priority is its customers.
“Our number one priority during these negotiations is to ensure consumers have access to quality health care that is affordable. We continue to actively negotiate with Hospital Corporation of America to reach an agreement that will retain them in our care provider network beyond September 30. If consumers have any questions they can call the toll-free number on the back of their BCBSGA ID card, or go to bcbsga.com/hca for further information and updates on negotiations.”
The Georgia Office of Insurance Commissioner says there is a law allowing people receiving continuous care, like pregnant women or those with cancer, to stay with the same provider, but they still may pay more.
Rubnitz says his best advice is to talk to the insurance company if you have a question before you make any decisions.
“If you’re unsure, call,” he said. “Much easier to fix things before it happens than on the back end side.”
The Georgia Office of Insurance Commissioner says if they reach a deal after the contract runs out, the company will backdate that new contract to cover any costs.