UMMC dropped from Blue Cross & Blue Shield network

Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 11:57 AM EDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Thousands of people who are insured by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi will now have to pay more for life-saving care from the state’s largest hospital.

Friday, the University of Mississippi Medical Center announced its contract with BCBS ended as of midnight on March 31.

That means the state’s largest insurer has forced from its network all of UMMC’s hospitals, clinics, physicians, and other providers statewide.

Also impacted are members of Blue Cross commercial plans from other states and those on a Blue Cross federal plan.

Now, thousands of patients needing specialty care and unique services only offered in the state by UMMC will pay higher costs because they are no longer in the Blue Cross network.

UMMC says Blue Cross has refused to bring the Medical Center’s reimbursement closer to fair market rates after underpaying UMMC by tens of millions of dollars per year for many years.

The hospital says Blue Cross’s lack of good-faith negotiating shows it is unwilling to value the unique and vital services provided by the state’s only academic medical center and safety-net hospital.

“We are disappointed that Blue Cross doesn’t value the Medical Center enough to agree to a fair contract and keep us in its network. We know that patients are disheartened and frustrated,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “We must – for the health and wellness of all Mississippians – stand firm in our resolve that Blue Cross should agree to pay us at fair market rates.”

However, Cayla Mangrum, corporate communications manager for BCBS says the hospital’s expectations are unfair.

“Unreasonable demands by UMMC for increased payments, along with their unwillingness to agree to Network Hospital quality requirements, are not in the best interest of our Members and Groups as we seek to provide access to quality, cost-effective healthcare,” Mangrum said. “Our primary goal remains our Members’ health.”

Over the past 18 months, UMMC has treated more than 50,000 patients who have a Blue Cross commercial health insurance plan.

WLBT has reached out to Blue Cross & Blue Shield for comment.

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