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We are in our final week of negotiations before Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska pushes us out of network. We continue to offer tens of millions in savings, including rate cuts, but Blue Cross continues to turn us down. Here are a couple of very important facts you need to know:
- What matters most is your health. Please do not delay your care. CHI Health is committed to working with you this week to make sure you have the care and medications you need during this time.
- If you hold a Medicare Supplement through Blue Cross – you are not affected by these negotiations.
- If you have a commercial Blue Cross policy from any state except Iowa, you are impacted.
CHI Health CEO, Cliff Robertson, M.D., updates you on negotiations. As you go through the next few days, please remember that we did not put you in this position, Blue Cross did. We have done, and continue to do, everything we can to reach an agreement that is fair to your doctor and fair to you.
Dr. Cliff Robertson, CEO of CHI Health, updates you on the BCBS negotiations.
Out of Network Guide
Letter to Patients
What You Need to Know
Since the end of May, we have been negotiating with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska on a new contract covering the hospital care that we provide to their members statewide. These negotiations also affect the way that care is covered for members of Blue Cross health plans headquartered in other states. Our current contract is set to end on August 31. Until then, nothing changes for you - our providers and hospitals will continue to care for you as we always have. However, if Blue Cross allows our contract to expire, your access to and costs for hospital care could be affected. Please refer to the list below to see which hospitals are affected.
It's important for you to know that Blue Cross initiated this issue by terminating our contract they had just signed 60 days prior, after nine months of focused negotiations. They then refused our request for an extension to allow more time for both parties to collaborate on a new contract, therefore setting a very tight timeline to resolve a complex agreement. Still, we continue meeting weekly to work toward a new contract that's sustainable for both organizations and most importantly, provides our patients with greater assurance in the quality of care you receive.
What This Means to You
Patients with a BCBS Medicare supplement plan are not affected by these negotiations. You may continue seeing your doctor and hospital care team just as you always have. All BCBS policyholders can continue to receive care as usual until the contract deadline on August 31.
BCBS will continue to process claims through that date. However, if BCBS allows our contract to expire on August 31, and you need to go to the hospital on or after September1, it could affect your costs and your access to hospital care at the our hospitals.
Emergency room visits are always covered by insurance no matter what. If you’re having an emergency, go to the nearest ER.
What You Can Do
- Talk to your doctor or provider about your situation. If BCBS allows the contract to expire on August 31, and you need to go to the hospital on or after September 1, we can help you sort through your options, including applying for BCBS’ Continuity of Care Benefits.
- Consider alternative health plans. Our hospitals and physicians are on all other major health plans, including UnitedHealthcare and Aetna/Coventry. Talk to your broker or employer about your options.
- Inform your friends and family. All Blue Cross and Blue Shield commercial health plan members, from all states, are affected by these negotiations. However, if you have a Blue Cross Medicare supplement plan you are not affected, and if you are covered by Wellmark (Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Iowa) you are not affected unless you seek care in Nebraska.
Continuity of Care Benefits through Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Any patient who needs to continue care for a course of treatment beyond Aug. 31 will need to contact their BCBS plan for their respective Continuity of Care Benefits application. For example, if you have Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, you will need to contact them and request their continuity of care document. To receive Continuity of Care Benefits, both the patient and their physician must complete and sign the form.
The application documents that the patient meets criteria specified by BCBS for continuing their care with the hospital, and the provider agrees to accept the contracted rates as payment in full. Some of the most common conditions that may qualify for Continuity of Care Benefits are included, but not limited to:
- Currently undergoing non-surgical treatment for cancer
- Currently undergoing surgical treatment for cancer
- Currently undergoing active treatment for severe or end–stage renal disease or dialysis
- Pregnancy after first trimester
- High-risk pregnancy
- Recent bone marrow or organ transplant or are on the waiting list to obtain an organ
- Currently receiving inpatient services at a facility (on the day of termination of contract)
- Currently receiving out- or inpatient treatment for mental illness and/or substance abuse by a licensed mental health provider
- Currently undergoing active treatment for HIV and AIDS.
- Alegent Creighton Health (Omaha, Council Bluffs)
- Nebraska Spine Hospital (Omaha)
- Lasting Hope Recovery Center (Omaha)
- Saint Francis Medical Center (Grand Island)
- Good Samaritan Hospital (Kearney)
- Nebraska Heart Hospital (Lincoln)
- Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center (Lincoln)
- St. Mary's Community Hospital (Nebraska City)
- Plainview Hospital (Plainview)
- Memorial Hospital (Schuyler)
Questions? Contact Us
- For questions about your out-of-network costs, call 1-888-245-4442 for an estimate.
Contract Negotiations FAQ
Value Based Care
Continuity of Care Benefits