Monday, August 18, 2014

Premera, Seattle Children’s Hospital reach agreement; Regence is in the works

Seattle Children’s Hospital and Premera Blue Cross today reached an agreement to include the hospital in its medical networks, effective Sept. 1. Seattle Children’s Hospital initiated legal proceedings about a year ago when Premera, Regence Blue Shield and Coordinated Care decided against including the hospital and research facility in their medical networks because of cost concerns. Regence is working with the hospital on its own agreement, which could be done this week. The company and hospital representatives will have another conference with the hearings officer presiding over the case at 11 a.m. on Aug. 21.

Coordinated Care earlier this year made a deal to include the hospital in its network and was removed from the case. 

“This is good news for consumers,” Kreidler said. “It represents the innovation that can occur when the marketplace is allowed to work. All parties deserve congratulations for the effort they have made and are making to ensure ready and affordable access to health care.

“This also furthers the discussion about how we balance the need of affordable care with the need to continue medical research without policyholders paying for it through premiums.”

The Premera deal was made in the late hours before the OIC’s hearings officer was scheduled to hear the case starting at 10 a.m. today. Kreidler’s office is currently reviewing proposed 2015 health care plans and is expected to start announcing the approved plans this week via the OIC’s online rate tool http://bit.ly/WAhealthrates.