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Order of Saint Francis hospitals will be out of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois network starting next year

LaSalle News Tribune

Thursday, October 12, 2017  |  Article  |  

Health (49)

As of the first of next year, nearly all Order of Saint Francis hospitals will be out of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois PPO network.

Statements from Blue Cross and Blue Shield and OSF HealthCare laid out what the health coverage change means, but also acknowledged the possibility the possibility it could flip-flop.

“We are deeply disappointed and concerned by recent actions taken by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois,” said Randy Billings, OSF Health Care Senior Vice President of Population Health. “It is our hope that Blue Cross and Blue Shield will realize the value of having OSF HealthCare hospitals in its network for its members. OSF is open to continuing discussions with Blue Cross and Blue Shield to avoid a disruption to patients.”

The Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois’ website listed affected hospitals as: St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg, St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa, St. James Medical Center in Pontiac, Holy Family Medical Center in Monmouth, St. Paul Medical Center in Mendota and St. Luke Medical Center in Kewanee.

An online statement from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois laid out some alternatives for affected customers in Peoria, Galesburg and Rockford, and left the door open for future developments.

“Effective Jan. 1, 2018, UnityPoint Health — Methodist in Peoria, Mercyhealth Hospital-Rockton Avenue in Rockford and Galesburg Cottage Hospital in Galesburg will join Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois’ PPO and BlueChoice networks,” it read. “We remain open to continuing contract discussions with the goal of reaching an agreement that benefits our members and customers.”

Ottawa Mayor Bob Eschbach urged OSF St. Elizabeth Medical Center to reconsider its decision to withdraw from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois.

In a Monday letter to hospital president Ken Beutke, Eschbach said the city has kept costs to taxpayers down by using Blue Cross/Blue Shield as a third-party administrator for Ottawa’s self-insured health plan for city employees, an arrangement in place since 2009.

“I understand that business decisions can be difficult,” Eschbach allowed, “however, I strongly encourage OSF St. Elizabeth to reconsider their participation in the network in order to continue to provide affordable medical care to Ottawa, and La Salle County, residents.”

A full list of insurance plans accepted at OSF hospitals can be found at: https://www.osfhealthcare.org/billing/insurance-plans/insurance-by-plan/