Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and CHI Health, formerly Alegent Health, were unable to come to an agreement about pricing last week, so all CHI affiliated hospitals (about 15) and over 1000 providers just became “out of network” for Blue Cross members. That means costs just went way up for those patients because insurance policies usually have patients owing about double when they go out-of-network. Nebraska is pretty rural outside of Omaha and Lincoln, and there aren’t a ton of hospital choices without traveling large distances. If your doctor is part of this mess then do you decide to change docs (a very personal decision) and possibly drive a lot more or pay more for services?
As a member of Samaritan Ministries I am again reminded how happy I am to have no worries about provider networks. Samaritan lets me see any licensed doctor I want with no hassle about whether they’re in or out of network. That is a great relief when traveling, and now also when these kinds of negotiations fail.
I have such sympathy for Blue Cross members and hope these companies are able to get things straightened out soon, for the sake of their customers. Blue Cross is a huge provider in this area, this problem affects a lot of people I know.