Mission Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced they have reached an agreement, allowing patients covered by the North Carolina's largest insurer will be 'in-network' at facilities operated by Western North Carolina's largest healthcare provider. The announcement comes exactly two months after Mission officially terminated its contract with Blue Cross. Their new agreement takes affect on December 15th.
Both sides released a joint statement announcing the agreement -
“Mission Health and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North have entered into an agreement for Mission Health participation in Blue Cross networks effective, Friday, December 15, 2017. Both parties are pleased to reach agreement on the mutual goal of ensuring that the people of Western North Carolina receive the affordable, quality health care that they need.”
Earlier this summer, Mission announced it's intention to terminate its service contract with Blue Cross. It meant patients covered by Blue Cross were 'out-of-network' at Mission facilities - forcing them to either find providers who accepted their insurance or pay more for non-emergency care. Hospitals to the west of Buncombe County reported seeing an increase in patients once this happened. In announcing its decision to terminate the contract in July, Mission stated the reimbursements it received from Blue Cross were too low, and could lead to increased health care costs. The insurer responded by saying more than 40 other hospital systems in North Carolina signed service contracts with them, leaving Mission the only one in the state that hadn't.
Details of the new deal will not be released according to Mission Health, which said those details were 'confidential' in a statement. In a seperate statement, Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina President and CEO Dr. Patrick Conway was pleased. “We are firmly committed to ensuring that our customers have access to high-quality, more affordable health care. We are glad that Mission Health has partnered with us to achieve this goal”, said Conway.