MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One of the largest health insurers has until the end of the year to ink a deal with one of the Mid-South’s largest healthcare providers.
If they don’t, thousands of families could see much higher costs or go without care.
Like many parents, Shana Lowell entered the last week of the year with uncertainty. Her family has health insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield but she doesn’t know if they’ll be able to use it at most of her and her son’s doctors come next week.
She’s been hospitalized at Methodist in the past and her son sees a lot of specialists for Crohn’s disease.
“I’m very, very scared,” Lowell said. “What do I do if we have an emergency? I can’t take him to the main children’s hospital in the city?”
Blue Cross Blue Shield has been stuck in negotiations with Methodist-Le Bonheur Healthcare for months. According to the insurance company, their members make up more than half of the patients at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, but pay more than other patients.
On Tuesday, the insurance company released a statement to WREG saying “We value the care that Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare facilities provide, and we hope to reach an agreement.”
They also said, “It is more important than ever for us to find ways to make care more affordable.”
In an email, a Methodist-Le Bonheur spokesperson said “negotiations are ongoing.”
“This is so much more than just the bottom line. There are people behind this being affected. Real people trying to put food on the table,” Lowell said.
Lowell has spent weeks researching and trying to figure out the best options for her family. She said they’re sticking with Blue Cross Blue Shield and all she can do is hope for good news by the new year.
Blue Cross Blue Shield has more than 3.5 million members in Tennessee.
Not all Methodist-Le Bonheur affiliated providers are affected. You should check with your doctor if you are worried about coverage in the new year.