Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas -- the largest insurance provider in the state -- and major healthcare provider Texas Health Resources announced late Thursday that the two organizations had settled their contract dispute.
Texas Health Resources, which serves 7 million people in North Texas, had asked to extend its contract with a four percent increase from Blue Cross Blue Shield. BCBSTX was offering a two-percent increase, calling the difference “unacceptable.”
No terms were disclosed in Thursday’s joint announcement of an agreement.
“Through determined efforts on both sides of the table, the agreement will keep Texas Health Resources in the HMO Blue Texas (Blue Essentials), Blue Choice PPO (BCA), Blue Advantage HMO (BAV) and Blue Cross Medicare Advantage PPO networks with no disruption in service,” read a joint statement sent to News 8.
If the two companies didn’t come to an agreement by Dec. 31, many Texans’ doctors would have been out of network starting in 2017.
Contract disputes are common between insurers and providers, but one health economist said earlier this month that the potential break between BCBS and THR would be really hard on patients and their families.
“Consumers are the ones who will pay the price for either higher premiums or lower access to the doctors and hospitals they've been using in the past,” Devon Herrick said.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas works with nearly 80,000 physicians and healthcare practitioners, and 500 hospitals to serve more than 5 million members in all of Texas’ 254 counties, the company said.