Children's Hospitals, BlueCross BlueShield agree to a new deal

They have agreed a new, three-year contract.

There will be relief for thousands of patients with BlueCross BlueShield coverage – the insurance company has reached a deal on a new contract with Children's Minnesota.

BlueCross and Children's had for months been at an impasse in negotiations, with Children's accusing the insurer of offering a reimbursement deal for Medicaid patients that would "cripple" the hospital system, while BlueCross said Children's was unreasonable in rejecting a "fair" offer.

On Wednesday, the deadline to reach a deal expired meaning anyone with BlueCross coverage would pay expensive, out-of-network costs for non-emergency treatment at Children's – Minnesota's largest pediatric hospital system.

But on Friday, it was announced the two organizations have come to an agreement that will keep Children's as an in-network provider for BlueCross customers, KARE 11 reports.

Children's Minnesota gave care to 66,000 people in 2016 who either had BlueCross coverage or who were covered by a Medicaid plan run by the Blue Cross HMO, the TV station notes.

They all faced paying more for future clinic and non-ER appointments, or having to find alternative treatment centers, if no deal was reached.

KSTP reports details of the deal have not been made available, other than it's for three years and is said to be "fair and equitable."

It was brokered with help from Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, the TV station notes.

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