Contract Between CHI Health, BCBS Expires

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The contract between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and Catholic Health Initiatives' UniNet has expired without a new agreement.

Monday officials say no negotiations have been scheduled to fix the situation.

UniNet represents CHI Health facilities across Nebraska. Starting Monday people who visit doctors or hospitals in Nebraska associated with the CHI Health network will have to pay more if they have insurance from Blue Cross. However, physicians in Lincoln, Kearney and Grand Island are not affected and are still in Network. CHI Health's Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs, Iowa, should not be directly affected, but Iowa residents with Blue Cross policies who seek treatment in Nebraska would be.

Those who have Medicare and use BCBS as a supplement are not effected.

Two days before the deadline, CHI Health said if an agreement wasn't reached it will affect 15 hospitals and more than 1,000 providers--including CHI Health St. Elizabeth and CHI Health Nebraska Heart.

CHI Health also said "We will work with our patients individually to ensure they can continue seeing their trusted care team, at costs as close to their in-network benefits as possible. If any of our patients have any questions, they can contact us at 888-245-4442."

Blue Cross says CHI Health, which used to be called Alegent Creighton Health, routinely charges 10 to 30 percent more than other Omaha hospitals. CHI Health says those figures are misleading and it believes its total cost of treatment is lower, even if certain services cost more.

If you have questions for Blue Cross Blue Shield, their number is 1-888-592-8961