CHI St. Luke's threatens split with Molina, 2nd insurer this week

For the second time this week, Houston-based CHI St. Luke's set a deadline to cut ties with an insurance provider if negotiations fail. This time it's with Molina Healthcare.

According to the Houston Chronicle, CHI St. Luke's will no longer be in Molina's network if the organizations don't reach a new agreement by Nov. 25, the system's CEO Doug Lawson, PhD, said Oct. 21.

The news comes days after the Houston Chronicle reported that an in-network contract between CHI St. Luke's parent company, Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas is set to end if the organizations don't reach a new agreement by Dec. 16. At that time, 16 CHI St. Luke's hospitals would be considered out of network for most BCBS of Texas members, except MyBlue Health customers.

Dr. Lawson said as CHI St. Luke's officials reviewed the system's finances, they found Molina and BCBS of Texas were paying less for similar services than their competitors, according to the report. 

Molina didn't immediately respond to the Houston Chronicle's request for comment. A BCBS of Texas spokesperson told the newspaper that CHI St. Luke's parent company CommonSpirit sought "egregious" price increases for its services.

Last year, more than 10,000 hospitalizations across CHI St. Luke's 16 hospitals were for BCBS patients, according to the report. Molina members represented about 1,043 hospitalizations and 10,735 outpatient visits for CHI St. Luke's.

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