Montefiore Health System calls on patients to speak up in Aetna dispute

Bronx, N.Y.-based Montefiore Health System urged patients to contact Aetna about an ongoing contract dispute that may result in the system leaving the health insurer's network by Sept. 8, according to The Journal News/lohud.

In a recent letter sent to commercial and Medicare policyholders, Aetna notified members they could face higher out-of-pocket costs to access Montefiore facilities and providers — save for emergencies — if a deal is not reached. Aetna said the letter is part of active negotiations with the 11-hospital system.

After The Journal News/Iohud reported on Aetna's letter, Montefiore told the publication the health insurer demanded unreasonable reimbursement cuts, forcing a stalemate. At the time, a Montefiore spokesperson said, "Contract negotiations have stalled as Aetna continues to demand we accept unreasonable cuts that do not appropriately pay for the care we provide."

In its own letter to patients, Montefiore encouraged them to phone Aetna's Regional Vice President Robert McCaffery to talk about how losing in-network access to the system would affect policyholders. As of Aug. 10, Mr. McCaffery's phone recording said he would not answer and had a full voice mailbox. The health system also told patients to contact federal regulators and employers with any concerns.

Both organizations have said they are still trying to negotiate a new contract.

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