Medical Center and Blue Cross Blue Shield hammer out new contract

lmorris@macon.comMay 15, 2014 

Pine_New_St

The Medical Center of Central Georgia is part of the Central Georgia Health System, which announced Thursday morning that it had reached an agreement with health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield.

WOODY MARSHALL — wmarshall@macon.com Buy Photo

After months of negotiations and at least two extensions, Central Georgia Health System, which includes The Medical Center of Central Georgia, and health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield agreed Thursday to a new contract.

The agreement “assures that we are in network and business will continue as usual for each of our (Blue Cross Blue Shield-insured) patients,” Rhonda Perry, chief financial officer for Central Georgia Health System, said in a statement. “We are extremely pleased that their care will continue as usual with no interruptions.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield administers Georgia state workers’ health benefit plan, including those of state retirees, said Bert Kelly, director of communications for the insurance company.

The insurance company and health system have been negotiating a new contract for several months. But even with Thursday’s agreement, the two parties could be back at the negotiating table next year.

“While the term of the contract runs until June 1, 2018, there are specific requirements that must be met by May 31, 2015, or the contract will expire,” Perry said in an email.

Kelly confirmed the insurer had signed agreements with the health system and its physicians group.

The insurer worked with the hospital to finalize a deal “that is reasonable, fair and competitive and at rates that will not force health care costs to increase substantially for our employer groups and our members,” Kelly said in an email.

In March, the hospital announced its contract with Blue Cross would end April 24. Then late that day, the two sides announced they had reached an agreement that would be finalized by April 30. That deal fell apart, and the contract was set to expire Thursday.

Central Georgia Health System includes The Medical Center of Central Georgia, The Medical Center of Peach County and Central Georgia Rehabilitation Hospital.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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