Blue Cross Blue Shield and Health Management Associates have reached an agreement that will return HMA’s Mississippi hospitals to the insurer’s network starting January.
In a statement, HMA said: “The HMA Hospitals have agreed to dismiss their lawsuit permanently against Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi will not be required to pay any money to the HMA hospitals or to HMA as a result of the dismissal.”
HMA had sued BCBS, which holds a lion’s share of Mississippi’s health insurance market, claiming the insurer was underpaying according to their contract. BCBS in turn dropped the 10 hospitals HMA owns from its network, a move HMA said would soon shutter the hospitals and force thousands to find new doctors or travel long distances for care. HMA claimed BCBS is using its monopolistic market share, originally granted it by state government in the decades it was a nonprofit, to strong arm hospitals and set health care policy in Mississippi. BCBS said HMA hospitals charge too much, and it’s trying to keep costs down.
BCBS had previously reinstated four of the HMA hospitals.