Brinkmanship or Compromise: Legacy Health and Regence BlueCross BlueShield’s Standoff Leaves Patients in the Middle

Legacy Health and Regence BlueCross fail to reach agreement on contract renewal as deadline approaches

Healthcare costs for 200,000 clients of Legacy Health could increase significantly if contract negotiations with Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon fail. If a deal is not reached by the end of Sunday, patients insured with Regence could find their providers out of network, resulting in higher costs for their care.

Legacy’s chief population health officer Merrin Permut cautioned patients of the potential price increase and advised them to contact their insurance company to inquire about the differences between in-network and out-of-network costs.

Contract negotiations between healthcare providers and insurers often involve brinkmanship, as seen earlier this year between Providence Health & Services and Regence, resulting in a new agreement being reached on the final day of the contract. The current standoff between Legacy and Regence has both sides exchanging tough rhetoric in press releases.

Regence stated that they offered Legacy a competitive contract on March 8, which has yet to be accepted or rejected. However, Legacy countered by suggesting that Regence has the financial means to compromise on the contract terms, citing the insurance company’s profitable recent years compared to Legacy’s financial losses following the COVID-19 pandemic.

With uncertainty looming for Legacy patients who may face higher prices if an agreement is not reached before April 1st, it remains to be seen whether both parties will come to a mutually beneficial agreement or continue down this path towards potential cost increases.

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