Florida Blue threatens to remove Health First hospital chain from network

Florida Blue may drop Health First, a Rockledge, Fla.-based hospital system and insurer, from its network due to rate disagreements, according to Florida Today.

If Florida Blue and Health First are unable to come to a consensus on their contract, Florida Blue will no longer cover services its members access at certain Health First locations or from the health system's physicians. The change would take place Dec. 7.

A Florida Blue spokesperson told Florida Today that Health First is seeking an unsustainable rate increase.

"Health First is insisting on a significant increase in reimbursement rates that would raise its payment structure well above similar hospital systems in the state," according to an internal memo obtained by Florida Today. "If Florida Blue agreed to Health First's contract demands, the cost of care would rise significantly for Brevard-area members who use Health First facilities."

Health First disagreed with Florida Blue's portrayal of the discussions. In a statement shared with the Space Coast Daily, Health First said: "While Florida Blue is trying to exert negotiating leverage over Health First through the media, do not be misguided by their narrative. This is being done in an effort to completely negotiate in favor of their profit margin, not in the name of providing quality healthcare at a fair price. Florida Blue recently rejected our last counter-proposal despite the fact that it fell within market-level standards."

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