You've probably seen the news. On July 5, 2017 Mission Health announced its intention to terminate its contract to be an in-network provider with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina.
The announcement sent shock waves throughout the region. Mission Health is the largest health care provider in the area and this change would affect thousands of individuals, providers, and health care facilities.
The day after the announcement, BCBSNC responded with its own headline: "Mission Health Cancels Contract with BCBSNC."
Folks throughout western North Carolina are understandably alarmed and worried and we've been fielding questions from concerned clients. We wanted to take a moment to clear up a few misconceptions and share the resource Mission has set up for communicating with patients, providers, and the general public about this issue.
The contract between Mission and BCBSNC has not been canceled. Yet.
A formal announcement of intention to terminate the contract is necessary to trigger negotiations. Mission has been attempting to engage in talks with BCBS for 6 months without progress, so this announcement of their intent to terminate the contract at the end of its current term (midnight 10/4/17). ** Update: The contract HAS ended and Mission is no longer an in-network provider with BCBS.
Emergency Room Care is Always In-Network
If the contract does end and Mission is no longer in-network with BCBS, you should still go to your nearest emergency room. You'll receive care and once stable have the choice to remain at an out-of-network facility or transfer to another facility that is in-network for your plan.
Pregnant Individuals and People with ongoing special conditions may continue their care through Continuity of Care transition
If you are pregnant and will be in your second or third trimester when the contract is set to expire, or if you have another ongoing special condition, you should call the phone number on the back of your BCBS card to find out if you are eligible and to apply for continuity of care.
This story will be covered by the major news networks, but Mission Health has also set up a public web page to disseminate information and answer questions:
Here you'll find a comprehensive overview of the situation as well as a detailed Frequently Asked Questions page and listing of affected providers and facilities. You can also sign up to receive updates by email or submit your own questions or comments.
What Can You Do??
If you are a BCBSNC subscriber, you can call the number on the back of your card to talk with member services about how you will be impacted and what you can do should the contract end. You may also want to share your opinion on the situation, and how you'd like to see the negotiations progress. Feel free to share this blog and share standwithmission.org with your friends and family in the area and on social media platforms.
UPDATE - The contract has expired and Mission is no longer in-network with BCBS. This means it may cost you more to see Mission-affiliated providers. Contact your plan administrator to see if you qualify for Continuity of Care coverage or to find new in-network providers. Stay tuned for continued updates. Mission and BCBS may still come to an agreement an negotiate a new contract.