BAYONNE AND HOBOKEN -- Bayonne Medical Center (BMC) announced this week that it will once more be an in-network provider with New Jersey's largest healthcare insurance provider, Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The agreement will go into effect on Oct. 1.
At the same time, the company co-owning BMC also said that it had reached an agreement with the same insurer to also use them at the hospital they are buying in Hoboken, Hoboken University Medical Center.
The change is significant because one of the main concerns about the potential new owners of Hoboken University Medical Center was that they would cancel insurance contracts and go “out of network” in their attempts to obtain better reimbursement rates from health care companies. HoldCo did so in Bayonne when they bought the hospital, causing problems for patients. It meant that patients were subject to much higher fees for service because the hospital was not in-network with the insurers.
In fact, Holdco, the company co-owning BMC and buying HUMC, said at the state Health Planning Board hearing in August that they would walk away from the purchase of Hoboken's hospital if they were required to maintain the current contracts with insurance companies, and they were asked to take part in “good faith negotiations.”
Blue Cross may have been recently forced to negotiate with BMC's owners because Blue Cross lost a court case against them in August.
Now, Horizon Blue Cross patients will not have to worry about out-of-network costs in Hoboken and Bayonne, for the time being.
The Hoboken sale is awaiting the approval from the state Commissioner of Health. The hospital must also settle its claims in bankruptcy court, which has garnered statewide attention over the past few weeks.
A press release from the Hoboken Municipal Hospital Authority stated that the deal “is expected to be completed later this month.”
“It is great news for patients to have HUMC continue as an in-network provider with Horizon,” said HMHA Chairperson Toni Tomarazzo.
For related stories and previous coverage, see links below. - Ray Smith and Al Sullivan