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Blue Cross & Mission Health Resume Talks


Just over a month after Mission Health’s contract with Blue Cross expired, the two organizations have gone back to the negotiating  table.  A Blue Cross spokesman confirmed by email that talks are underway, saying, “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Mission Health have entered into discussions regarding a future network participation agreement and will refrain from public comment until those talks are completed.”

Mission Health’s contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield expired at the beginning of October.  Since then  non-emergency  visits to Mission Health facilities have become ' out of network' for people insured by Blue Cross and Blue Shield.   The company is the only insurer on the Affordable Care Act  health care exchange in Western North Carolina.  Mission Health is the largest healthcare provider in the region. 

The two have been at odds over rates.   Blue Cross said it would negotiate once Mission went out of network.   Mission Health's Senior Vice President of Government & Community Relations, Rowena Buffett Timms, issued the following statement last night, “We have previously said that we were not going to comment, and we continue to refrain from comment.”

Blue Cross NC provider information is available at bcbsnc.com/findadoctor.  For insurance information: www.bcbsnc.com/wnc or call 1-800-446-8053.

Mission has set up the following website with information on the dispute:  www.standwithmission.org.  Patient questions?  Call 828-417-0480

Helen Chickering is a host and reporter on Blue Ridge Public Radio. She joined the station in November 2014.
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