More Questions, More Answers in Blue Cross Blue Shield/Catholic Health Initiatives Stalemate

      Blue Cross Blue Shield, Saint Francis Medical Center, and Good Samaritan Hospital have all been hosting meetings this week to answer employer and patient questions as the contract between the insurance provider and hospitals is set to expire Aug. 31.

      Both Saint Francis and Good Samaritan belong to Catholic Health Initiatives, but Saint Francis' President Dan McElligott says BCBS is actually negotiating with another network they're a part of called UniNet.

      McElligott spoke with local human resource leaders at an informational meeting Friday afternoon.

      McElligott says Saint Francis and other CHI hospitals joined UniNet when their BCBS contact was up back in January. He says UniNet is an umbrella of many Omaha-based independent medical providers as well as the CHI Nebraska hospitals (Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, Nebraska Heart Hospital and Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln, Saint Francis Medical Center in Grand Island, and St. Mary's Community Hospital in Nebraska City).

      BCBS officials at a town hall meeting in Grand Island on Wednesday said negotiations are falling through because Omaha providers are charging more, but say they would work with CHI Nebraska separately.

      But McElligott says that's unlikely. He says failed talks between the hospitals and the insurance provider a year ago are why they joined UniNet.

      “Once we joined UniNet we receive fair reimbursement, which even Blue Cross and Blue Shield today says was fair and appropriate and they have no problem, but we tried negotiating with Blue Cross and Blue Shield separately and we were unable to be treated fairly, so they kind of pushed us to where we are today,” says McElligott.

      There are still answers to some care questions being figured out by the hospitals and BCBS, but a couple of important things to know: 1) BCBS Medicare supplement plans are not affected by this contract, and 2) emergency room visits will still be covered, so always go to the nearest in an emergency.

      Click HERE for our previous coverage on this story.


      Contact Blue Cross Blue Shield at 1-844-286-0855

      Contact UniNet at 1-800-418-7212