It’s not you, it’s me: Providence Alaska groups send ‘Dear John’ note to Premera Blue Cross

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Premera Blue Cross, one of the major health insurers in Alaska, has received termination notices from three Providence Alaska groups of doctors ending their relationship with the insurer at the end of the year:

  • – Providence Medical Group Alaska
  • – Providence Behavioral Medicine Group
  • – Providence Imaging Center

The Providence hospital is not part of the dispute, but the segments of service providers for primary care are essentially calling for a divorce, which could impact thousands of Alaskans. The details of the dispute are not clear, but the move is a signal that the doctors either want to be paid more or that Premera is trying to pay them less.

“We are working in good faith to reach a new agreement that provides quality care for our members and fairly compensates the health system before the contract end date of December 31, 2023,” the health insurer wrote to its customers.

The doctors have issued no statement, but by law the insurer had to notify individual policyholders.

“We understand the unprecedented economic climate, and we want to do our part to help,” Premera Blue Cross wrote in a memo. But it underscored the significant rate increases, and it pointed out that rates are untethered to improvements in quality or access to care, and “work against our objective of making healthcare work better. It’s important to note that 80 cents of every premium dollar that Premera receives must be spent on our members’ care as mandated by state law. That’s why our focus has been—and continues to be—quickly reaching a new contract that benefits these Providence Alaska groups and our members.”

The Premera memo continued, “We value the care our partners at Providence Alaska provide for our region. That’s why as we continue to work with them, we are committed to working long term on realistic, practical solutions that drive down costs. Our role is to be good stewards of your clients’ dollars; while also helping set them up for long-term financial success.”

The health insurer was contractually required to notify impacted members by Nov. 30, which it did, saying, “We will keep you informed as negotiations continue so you are aware of our progress. You can also check out our Healthsource blog for the latest information or contact your Premera representative.”

Earlier, a similar termination had been resolved with Providence health care providers in Eastern Washington and nearly the exact same memo was issued by Premier before that dispute was resolved. Premera and Providence Ambulatory Surgery Centers in eastern Washington came to an agreement on a contract, providing no disruption to Premera patients receiving care at Providence Ambulatory Surgery Centers in eastern Washington, as the contract is effective beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

13 COMMENTS

  1. When the non profit hospital increases it’s charges to the actual providers for literally everything, the provider has to get compensated. The problem is with Providence.

  2. Providence can rot in hell for all our family and friends think.
    They are the ones to allow patients to die (alone with family members waving by on a tablet in the parking lot)
    Doctor proscribed medications in hand but not administered.

  3. As Providence continues its war on Alaskans

    One good thing which came due to Covid was exposing Province in specific and health care facilities in general for the hypocrites they are.

  4. 30 plus developed countries have figured out how to provide cradle to grave health care at lower cost and better outcomes. But not us! We have to make it as complicated as possible with a gazillion different insurers and plans and reasons for denial of coverage and on and on. We pay more. We die younger.

    • You are clueless. Government provided health care, “cradle to grave” in other countries is a joke. Wait lists, deciding if you should or even should not get treatment. Other countries Leave some folks untreated and let them die!

      • Correct. My own family felt the impact of the Canadian system. My dad’s family is from Canada and his brother was still there. My Uncle had gone to the doctor and despite the fact they saw lung cancer in his imaging, they didn’t tell him for THREE YEARS. By the time they told him it had progressed a lot. He crossed over into Vermont to get care but at that point it was too late and he died. I also have a good friend in Calgary that has told me about the long waits. Yes, care is “free” (if you consider 40+% income tax “free”), but you don’t get to choose your doctor, your waits can be months or a year or more, and prescription drugs are not covered (you have to have insurance through your employer for prescriptions). Of course, she’s appalled we have to pay for our care, but I’m appalled at the lack of choice and the long waits.

  5. The non profit Providence Hospital has millions of dollars.
    It would be nice to see the trades who do business with the rich doctors and hospitals charge like fees. Say labor rates starting at 750 dollars per hour and a product markup just like hospital bandaids say 1000%.
    The medical industry is way out of line.

  6. Providence Hospital…where people go to die after they take their money. What a “heavenly” feeling.

  7. High time that this and many more so called non-profits start paying property taxes like the rest of us. Even most of their help are from out of state because of their toxic work environment. These are not church people by any stretch of the imagination.

  8. Being as how many people in Alaska have no options other than Blue Cross, this is frustrating. I recall a year ago Fred Meyer stopped taking Blue Cross as well in their pharmacy- not sure if that got worked out or not as I switched pharmacies as a result. I have three providers that won’t bill insurance any longer and I’ve gotten to know the joy of billing Blue Cross myself and getting denied, denied, denied. I can understand why providers don’t want to use Blue Cross- it’s not the Blue Cross of yesterday. Blue Cross denies a lot more claims than it used to and reimburses below cost in some instances. Doctors still need to pay the bills and get a paycheck.

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