Sep. 18—One of the largest insurers of Stillwater Medical patients would have been out of network after December without a new agreement.
After months of stalemate, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma and Stillwater Medical returned to the negotiating table and carved out a deal that will keep BCBSOK in network through Dec. 31, 2026.
"The contract keeps Stillwater Medical hospitals in Stillwater, Blackwell and Perry and the doctors and health care professionals employed by Stillwater Medical in BCBSOK networks as well," a Stillwater Medical news release reads.
According to Stillwater Medical, its doctors, health care professionals and hospitals will be in networks Blue TraditionalSM and Blue Choice PPOSM.
"We are excited to reach this deal with Stillwater Medical," said Stephania Grober, president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma. "Ensuring our members have adequate coverage, especially in rural communities, while also receiving quality care is one of our top priorities. We look forward to continuing to build our relationship with Stillwater Medical, its facilities and providers."
Blue Preferred PPOSM will be out of network at Stillwater Medical beginning Jan. 1.
"If an employer group wants to access in-network care at Stillwater Medical facilities, they will need to utilize Blue Traditional or Blue Choice," the release reads. "Members can visit bcbsok.com or call the number on the back of their ID card to verify in-network hospitals and providers for their specific plan."
Negotiations stalled in December 2022. At that point, the deadline was set for May 2023. A short-term agreement moved the deadline to December 2023.
Stillwater Medical claimed costs had increased 26 percent since 2019 and reimbursement contracts from insurance provider networks were not keeping pace with inflation. BCBSOK claimed Stillwater Medical was wanting to increase prices above the rates of inflation. According to Stillwater Medical's webpage, collective rate payments for BCBSOK's patients comprised 21 percent of Stillwater's patient base.
"Throughout negotiations, we remained focused on our No. 1 priority: being able to provide our patients, and the communities we serve, with high quality healthcare," said Denise Webber, president and CEO of Stillwater Medical. "We are pleased to have reached this agreement so that Blue Cross and Blue Shield members can continue to see their trusted physicians, specialists, and care teams without disruption."
Additional information on the new agreement can be found at bcbsok.com/stillwater. Members can call the number on the back of the ID card or visit bcbsok.com. if they have questions about benefit coverage or in-network providers.