Blue Cross, Children's Hospital end feud


   Eagan-based Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota and Minnesota Children’s Hospital ended a contract stalemate this week following intervention by the state attorney general.Page 6
     The disagreement left many parents wondering whether they would have to change treatment options for their children if the hospital left the insurer’s network of providers.
     “This new agreement allows Children’s to sustainably continue doing what we have always done: provide the best possible care for children and their families,” said Bob Bonar, chief executive officer at Children’s Minnesota.
     The two sides announced an agreement on Friday, July 7. Earlier in the week, the insurer and the hospital for children launched a public relations war over the contract dispute.
     Blue Cross and Children’s disagreed over rates to be paid for medical services provided by the hospital. Blue Cross negotiates rates with medical providers, some of which have stopped accepting the insurance. Blue Cross members pay lower, and sometimes no, co-payments for in-network providers. If a provider leaves the network, it could result in substantial medical bills for patients.
     Blue Cross posted an announcement on its website during the dispute claiming Children’s had terminated the contract.
     “Children’s Minnesota, not Blue Cross, terminated the contract,” Blue Cross wrote in a bold headline on its website. “If Children’s had not done this, the contract and current payment rates would have continued until we reach a new agreement,” the insurer wrote. “Blue Cross has a long history of negotiating in good faith even after the renewal date comes and goes. We find it disappointing that Children’s would choose to walk away from our network instead of working with us collaboratively to negotiate a new agreement.”