UW Medicine, Premera Blue Cross reach in-network agreement

June 9 update: Premera Blue Cross and UW Medicine reached a new multi-year agreement, effective July 1, ensuring no disruption for Premera members receiving care at UW Medicine.

Previous: The University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle will be out of network with Premera Blue Cross on July 1 if a new contract between the parties is not in place.

Affected members include those with commercial, Medicare Advantage, individual ACA and student plans. UW Medicine said around 175,000 patients could be affected, while Premera estimated about 235,000 members could be affected, according to a May 19 report from The Seattle Times.

Affected facilities include UW Medical Center — Montlake, UW Medical Center — Northwest, Harborview Medical Center, Valley Medical Center, UW Medicine Primary Care and UW Physicians, including services provided by UW Physicians at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.

"UW Medicine remains committed to contract discussions," the health system said in a May 18 post on its website. "The rate of inflation as well as healthcare staffing costs have increased substantially and continue to increase."

On its website, Premera noted that contract renegotiations are a normal process, but it was "disappointed" that UW Medicine issued a termination notice to patients.

"Negotiating new agreements with healthcare systems is a standard part of our business," the payer said in a May 15 post on its website. "Negotiations are usually done out of the public eye, though, because we understand news like this is disruptive and causes unnecessary angst and confusion for our members.

"We want to ensure UW Medicine is fairly compensated and our members continue to have access to quality care at an affordable price."

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