Children's Minnesota, BCBS reach deal

Blue Cross, Children's MN hospitals reach coverage deal

MINNEAPOLIS - Children's Minnesota and Eagan-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (BCBS) have reached a new coverage deal.

The announcement was made Friday by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, Children's Minnesota CEO Bob Bonar, BCBS of Minnesota CEO Mike Guyette and long-time healthcare industry contributor John Morrison, who Swanson said helped facilitate conversations between the parties.

The sides were not able to reach an agreement on July 5, making Children's Minnesota an out-of-network provider for Blue Cross patients. The deal affects about 66,000 patients privately insured through BCBS or who are covered by a Medicaid plan that the Blue Cross HMO runs on behalf of the State of Minnesota.

"We worked very closely with the Children's clinical team to make sure all children were getting the care they needed and that continue to receive the services," said Guyette, adding the children and their families did not have to pay out-of-network costs during the two-day lapse in coverage.

All parties disclosed few details of the agreement, only noting that it will be a three-year contract.

"We've reached an agreement on terms that are good for employers and the Medicaid population and for children," said Guyette. "We feel really good going forward."

"I think where we landed was a fair and equitable contract and both entities are pleased that parents are going to be able to continue to get great care," Bonar added. "Children's Hospital has a responsibility to our community to provide good healthcare with great outcomes in a cost-efficient manner and that's what we've committed to our Blue Cross partners to do."

When asked what if any cost would change for families versus what they were paying last week, Guyette didn't know the answer at this point but added: "Families will continue to see that they have access to Children's and that they'll have affordable premiums and affordable prices going forward."

Children's Minnesota is the state's largest pediatric hospital.

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