But the parties offered no new details about how far apart they are, or how negotiations might progress in the coming days. For now, Children’s is out-of-network for people with Blue Cross coverage, a distinction that could add thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to a family’s medical spending if they stick with Children’s.
“I am at a loss to think of an actual termination” like this in Minnesota, said Roger Feldman, a health economist at the University of Minnesota.
“Blue Cross is Children’s biggest customer, and conversely Children’s is the dominant pediatric provider of hospital care,” Feldman said. “It seems that neither party can get along without the other one.”
Blue Cross, which is the largest health insurer for Minnesota residents, says about 66,000 subscribers have received care at Children’s during the past year.
The terminated contract set Blue Cross payment rates to Children’s for services delivered to patients with commercial health insurance coverage, as well as those with coverage via the Medicaid program. Since the dispute went public in March, much of the discussion has focused on Medicaid, the public health insurance program for lower-income residents that’s jointly funded by the state and federal governments.