As the dispute between the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Blue Cross Blue Shield continues, Commissioner of Insurance Mike Chaney says he’s considering suing Blue Cross Blue Shield.
During Thursday’s annual Hobnob Mississippi event, Chaney told reporters that he believes an agreement between UMMC and BCBS could be reached by Monday. However, after meeting with both parties individually, the commissioner said on Friday’s episode of The Gallo Show that federal intervention may be required for the conflict to come to an end.
“I’m not frustrated; I’m mad,” Chaney said. “You’ve got 750,000 Mississippians – not all Mississippians but policyholders of Blue Cross Blue Shield – out of network with the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and they are being used as pawns by Blue Cross and by the university.”
Back in April, UMMC was dropped from BCBS due to an inability to agree on a reimbursement rate increase that the hospital argued was comparable to what academic medical centers in other states are receiving, leaving over 50,000 patients without coverage at Mississippi’s largest hospital.
According to Chaney, a monetary number was agreed upon in late July. The disagreement has since hinged on what procedures at UMMC are covered by BCBS.
While Chaney blamed both parties for their role in the dispute, he said BCBS has continued to sell policies to people without informing them that UMMC is no longer an option under the private insurer. That in itself would be the basis of the lawsuit.
“We may restrict Blue Cross’ right to write more policies if they are not network-adequate by the end of the year,” Chaney said. “You can’t just let them sell policies to people, thinking they’re in the network and they can go to the university hospital – or any hospital as far as that’s concerned – and then find out two weeks later that they’ve been paying the premium and are locked in for a year and can’t use those doctors.”
If an agreement between UMMC and BCBS is not reached by the end of the calendar year, a resolution will be made by the legislature and the Institutions of Higher Learning when the 2023 session commences in January.
As of date, BCBS has 967,000 policyholders in Mississippi – nearly one-third of the state’s population.
The full interview with Chaney can be watched below.