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Blue Shield, UCLA end long health insurance dispute

August 10, 2012|By Chad Terhune
  • Dr. David Feinberg, chief executive of UCLA Health System, visits with a patient. UCLA and insurer Blue Shield of California agreed to a new contract.
Dr. David Feinberg, chief executive of UCLA Health System, visits with… (Francine Orr/Los Angeles…)

Nonprofit insurer Blue Shield of California said it resolved a lengthy contract dispute with UCLA and other UC system hospitals over reimbursements for patient care.

Effective Sept. 1, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital will be back in the Blue Shield network.

The San Francisco health insurer said this new contract with all UC providers statewide runs through June 30, 2015.

The previous contract expired Dec. 31 as the two sides bickered over rising medical costs. These disputes have become more common across the country as some insurers try to rein in healthcare costs and major hospitals exert their market power to maintain adequate reimbursements.

"After more than a year of discussions, we are gratified that the University of California providers worked with us to come to an agreement on rates that will help keep care more affordable for our members," said Paul Markovich, Blue Shield's president and chief operating officer.

A representative at UCLA couldn't be immediately reached for comment. Contract talks broke down between UCLA and Blue Shield in 2006 and 2008 as well.

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