Blue Cross, Southcoast announce contract agreement

Oct 21, 2019

Leading health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and local healthcare provider Southcoast Health have announced an agreement on a new four-year contract.

This agreement ends drawn-out negotiations that had threatened coverage for Blue Cross members using the system’s hospitals all across the South Coast.

Earlier this fall, Southcoast Health had warned that its health services would no longer be in the Blue Cross network on Jan. 1 if the companies failed to reach an agreement.

According to Blue Cross Blue Shield, around 14,000 members with their insurance see primary care doctors within the Southcoast system, which includes St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, and Tobey Hospital in Wareham. Southcoast puts that number at about 22,000.

Marion, Mattapoisett, and Rochester all offer town employees health insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield MA, meaning they would have been affected if a contract was not negotiated. In Rochester, town employees also have the option of being insured through Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

It is unclear at this time what the new agreement will mean in terms of health care costs within the network.

According to a press release from Southcoast Health, “The agreement will ensure that Blue Cross members can continue to receive the exceptional in-network care they are accustomed to at Southcoast Health.”

The statement went on to say that both companies were “grateful” for the patience of the community during negotiations.

See more on this topic: Letter to the editor: Southcoast/Blue Cross conflict touches deeper problem of unaffordable healthcare