UMMC’s battle with Blue Cross Blue Shield is impacting patients

Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 7:55 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Now that Blue Cross Blue Shield dropped UMMC from its list of covered medical facilities, hundreds of patients are making tough choices regarding their well-being.

On April 1, thousands of people covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield and who are patients at the University of Mississippi Medical Center were forced to make an almost impossible decision — to choose between their hospital or affordability.

16-year-old Erin Wilson and her mother are currently trying to decide.

“It’s very nerve-wracking to think about having to move to new people and gain that trust and be like, Okay, I trust you with my life, literally,” Erin Wilson said.

Erin was diagnosed with Graves Disease in 2018, a condition that causes her to both overproduce and underproduce thyroid hormones. It has caused numerous issues that UMMC specialists have helped her manage.

“I feel that if anything were to go wrong, all my doctors would be there and be like, Okay, we need to do this. And they would all create a plan together. And just, I look up to them because they always want to take care of me and other people and just do the best for everyone,” Erin said.

According to a statement from UMMC, certain patients with “a specific ongoing medical condition or conditions based on federally determined qualifying criteria” will be covered until July. But Erin’s mother, Vernita Wilson, said her daughter isn’t one of them.

Instead, Wilson is having to choose to either spend more money to remain with UMMC specialists or go to another hospital and start over.

“When it comes to her care, I want the best. And I thought I had done all the work, all the research to get her into the network and into the group of doctors who would better serve her. But this I don’t know because we’re at the specialist levels. Specialists cost more,” Wilson said.

Wilson says the lack of warning before insurance renewals were due is the most frustrating because it puts many in a very difficult position.

“Blue Cross did send me an email to say back in November your premium will go up. Why not say we’re considering an abandonment of our contract with your UMMC, or vice versa? It was done, and we’re left to deal with their decision,” Wilson said.

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