Blue Cross, Children’s Reach a Deal

Patients at Children’s Minnesota with Blue Cross insurance can now breath a sigh of relief.

Credit: Nick Youngson https://nyphotographic.com/

MINNEAPOLIS – Months after the contract dispute began, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and Children’s Minnesota have reached a deal.

As of midnight July 5, Children’s became an out-of-network provider for Blue Cross patients, following failed contract negotiations. The health care provider reported 66,000 patients were at risk of significantly higher medical costs in order to continue receiving care at Children’s.

Now, two days after the contract termination, Blue Cross and Children’s have reached a deal.

“Blue Cross is very pleased that our members now have clarity on the network status of Children’s and can continue to see their doctors,” Michael Guyette, president and chief executive officer at Blue Cross, said in a press release. “Throughout this process, Blue Cross stressed the importance of payers and providers working together to improve the delivery and financing of health care in Minnesota. Children’s is an essential partner in this work, specifically our commitment to children’s health and access to quality care in the region.”

The agreement, a three-year contract, is retroactive to July 1, 2017 so there will be no disruption in coverage for patients at Children’s with Blue Cross insurance.

“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,” Bob Bonar, chief executive officer at Children’s Minnesota, said in a press release. “It’s a demonstration of our shared commitment to ensuring the highest quality of specialized pediatric care is accessible and affordable to any child in need.”

The contract dispute started back in March when Children’s announced they would be terminating their contract with Blue Cross after the insurance provider attempted a double-digit reduction in Medicaid rates. Children’s pushed back on the rate change, saying unless they could reach a deal before the July 5 contract expiration date, they would be ending their contract with Blue Cross.

While contract disputes are not unusual, the battle between Children’s and Blue Cross drew an unusual amount of public attention. The Star Tribune called the contract battle the “highest profile contract termination in the Twin Cities in at least a decade.”