Mississippi may propose payer-provider contract legislation following tense BCBS, UMMC dispute

Mississippi's insurance commissioner is looking to introduce state legislation that limits when a network contract can be canceled between a payer and provider following one of the most contentious contract disputes of 2022 between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi and the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the Mississippi Free Press reported Aug. 16.

"We will probably propose to the legislature that contracts cannot be canceled except during an open enrollment period," Commissioner Mike Chaney told the news outlet.

Mr. Chaney said the reason for the proposal is so patients can immediately sign up for new health coverage on the state's marketplace instead of waiting for months without coverage.

The argument between BCBS, the state's largest insurance company, and Jackson-based University of Mississippi Medical Center, the state's largest hospital and singular provider of many services, first began in February when UMMC requested higher reimbursement rates from the payer.

No deal was ever reached and since April 1, tens of thousands of patients across the state have been left with little to no access to covered care.

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