Providence Health & Services ends contract with Premera Blue Cross

Renton, Wash.-based Providence Health & Services will not renew its contract with Mountlake Terrace, Wash.-based Premera Blue Cross after disputing rates and other terms.

Effective Jan. 1, Providence, Seattle-based Swedish Medical Center, Richland, Wash.-based Kadlec Regional Medical Center, Seattle-based Pacific Medical Centers and their physicians and clinics will be out-of-network with all Premera policyholders.

Up to 500,000 people could be affected, The Seattle Times reported, though Providence said no Medicare recipients will be affected.

Providence also said in a statement it "asked Premera to pay a fair rate that is consistent with other payers in the communities" it serves, but Premera was unwilling to agree.

In response, Premera argued it has "committed to more aggressively control costs, improve the quality of care with performance-based payments, and enhance the patient experience," and "invited Providence to similarly meet the needs of customers in alignment with this community standard."

Premera said it is open to working with Providence on a new contract.  Providence said it believes there is opportunity for negotiation but chose to share the news for patients as they make decisions about their healthcare plans for 2017.

Premera policyholders will remain in-network at Providence facilities and clinics until Dec. 31 unless an agreement is reached before then.

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