BCBS Texas, Ascension Texas could split, affecting 66,000 patients

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and Ascension hospitals in Texas are facing a looming Feb. 1 deadline to avoid a split that could impact 66,000 patients, the Austin-American Statesman reported Jan. 6. 

The existing contract between BCBS Texas and Ascension expires Jan. 31. According to a statement published Jan. 3 on the St. Louis-based hospital system's website, the potential split would impact most Ascension Texas hospitals, including Ascension Providence in Waco, Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin, and Dell Children's Medical Center and Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas in Austin. 

The contract negotiations affect commercial and Medicare members, the hospital system said. Medicaid members are not impacted. 

Around 66,000 BCBS members received care at a Central Texas Ascension hospital in 2022, according to the Austin-American Statesman. 

A spokesperson for BCBS told the newspaper contract negotiations are "not at an impasse," and the two sides continue to talk. 

The spokesperson said the payer offered an increase in reimbursements to Ascension, but so far, the health system has asked for more than BCBS is willing to pay. 

In its statement, Ascension said it wants a new agreement to be reached as soon as possible to avoid disruptions. 

"We remain eager to continue conversations and work with BCBSTX on contract terms that will ensure their policyholders maintain in-network access to Ascension Texas sites of care and providers," the system said. 

See a full list of the potentially affected hospitals, clinics and ASCs here

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