Clearwater-based BayCare Health System and Florida Blue have reached an agreement to keep all BayCare hospitals, doctors and services within the network just days before the current deal was set to expire.
“We are very pleased to have this agreement behind us so that we can focus on what matters most, our patients,” BayCare CEO and President Tommy Inzina said in a news release.
Last week, BayCare sent a letter to roughly 215,000 patients insured through Florida Blue informing them its agreement with the insurance company will expire on Sept. 30. Since Sept. 23, BayCare paused scheduling elective surgeries and procedures for Florida Blue-insured patients during the negotiation period.
“Throughout our work with BayCare Health System, we have remained focused on the best interests and well-being of our members and the Tampa Bay community. We are pleased to announce our teams reached a reasonable agreement to keep the high-quality services offered by BayCare in our Florida Blue networks and accessible to all our members,” David Pizzo, Florida Blue market president, said in the joint Wednesday announcement.
“With Hurricane Ian threatening our communities, we are thankful our members no longer need to be concerned about their ability to access their BayCare health care providers and can focus on what’s most important – the health and safety of their family, friends and community.”
According to a previous Florida Blue media alert, BayCare initiated the discussion, demanding a double-digit percent increase for hospital services and a two-to-three-fold increase for its doctors, imaging and accessory services. Florida Blue responded by stating the total increases demanded by BayCare were in excess of $80 million that Tampa Bay and Polk County members and employers would have to pay each year – in addition to their current premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Florida Blue could not put this “excessive burden on the people and businesses in Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and Polk counties,” the insurer previously said in a release.
If Florida Blue and BayCare didn’t reach a new contract agreement, BayCare’s services for Florida Blue-insured patients would have been deemed as out-of-network, forcing patients to look elsewhere for health care services.