- Florida Blue and BayCare Health, leading companies in the health insurance and healthcare industries, respectively, reached an agreement to keep BayCare in Florida Blue’s network of coverage
- The two sides were engaged in negotiations dating back to August over pricing disputes
- Talks appeared to break down after Florida Blue notified customers by mail that BayCare may opt out, while BayCare last week paused all elective surgeries for Florida Blue customers
Just days ahead of the Sept. 30 contract negotiations deadline for BayCare and Florida Blue, the two sides were able to reach an agreement on a multi-year contract. The new deal allows BayCare health facilities to remain under the Florida Blue health insurance coverage network.
According to a Florida Blue media alert, BayCare initiated discussions several months ago, demanding a double-digit percent increase for hospital services and a two-to-three-fold increase for its doctors, imaging, and accessory services. This, according to the insurer, would result in increased service and premium expenses.
Talks appeared to break down after more than 85,000 Florida Blue customers who received care from the BayCare Health System in the previous six months received notes in the mail advising that BayCare may opt out of Florida Blue’s networks.
Should the two sides have failed to reach a deal, Florida Blue customers who rely on BayCare for healthcare would be forced to pay out-of-pocket.
“We are very pleased to have this agreement behind us so that we can focus on what matters most, our patients,” said BayCare CEO and President Tommy Inzina. “All along, our goal has been to reach an agreement with Florida Blue that allows BayCare to continue to meet the needs of our patients and our community today and far into the future. We look forward to continuing to provide these patients with high-quality, compassionate care.”
Due to the agreement, Florida Blue customers will experience no interruptions of service, according to the two companies. Further, the agreement keeps BayCare Health System in-network for all Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans with coverage in Florida.
In anticipation of a severing, BayCare last week paused all elective surgeries and procedures for Florida Blue patients.
“Throughout our work with BayCare Health System, we have remained focused on the best interests and well-being of our members and the Tampa Bay community. We are pleased our teams reached a reasonable agreement to keep the high-quality services offered by BayCare in our Florida Blue networks and accessible to all our members,” said Florida Blue in a statement.
A disparity in contract negotiations arose when BayCare claimed that due to inflation and the subsequent rising costs, labor and supply prices have increased without a commensurate share of revenue being passed on to providers and practitioners.“
“As our doctors and nurses have worked hard to save lives throughout the pandemic, labor and supply costs have risen substantially. Last year, it cost us 20 percent more to care for each patient than before the pandemic. And costs have increased more in 2022. We are simply asking Florida Blue to agree to a fair contract that puts patients first,” BayCare said last month. “Every year, Florida Blue asks its members and employers to pay more for their health insurance coverage, but those increases are not proportionately shared with health care providers like BayCare.”