Patients Left In Limbo As Deadline Looms For Blue Cross Blue Shield, St. Francis Coverage Agreement

Monday, July 12th 2021, 9:18 pm
By: Grant Stephens

TULSA, Oklahoma -

The deadline for Saint Francis and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma to come to an agreement on healthcare and insurance coverage is looming.

If the two don't agree, thousands of Oklahomans could be left without care.

With no real answers, lot of people have been left in the dark. They say they're stuck between switching providers or taking a gamble and waiting it out.

Logan Bellew is among the 59,000 people who've been stuck in healthcare limbo over the last few months. He believes patients will ultimately pay for the confusion.

"I really worry about people that are underprivileged or don't know how to navigate the healthcare system and are going to get lost in this whole transition," Bellew said.

The dispute between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and Saint Francis Health System came to a head April 1, when a contract between the two expired, kicking off a 90-day transition period.

Bellew started an online petition to get the two to come to at least a temporary agreement but fears it's too late for some who will fall through the cracks.

"When you sign up for insurance you don't expect to eventually have to be filling out another form to continue the treatment that you're already receiving because two large corporations couldn't make an agreement," he said. "I feel like the way they did it may effect some people permanently."

Now, just days from the July 29th deadline,  a statement sent by Blue Cross Blue Shield says despite readiness from both sides to sign an agreement, a deal hasn't been made yet.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield statement says:

"Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK) has been working with Saint Francis Health System on a new agreement for several months and we remain ready to settle the outstanding items and sign, but we’re not there yet.
Our members are our top priority, and we are standing up for fair and reasonable health care costs, which is our duty as a member-owned health insurer. We must ensure reimbursement for all locations is fair and aligned with the current market.
BCBSOK is committed to working with doctors and hospital systems to find solutions that are in the best interest of our members, who are their patients.
We hope to finalize an agreement with Saint Francis that will give our members health care access and options, while protecting them from increased costs. If a deal is not reached by July 29, 2021 Saint Francis hospitals, clinics and physicians will go out of network."

News on 6 has also reached out to Saint Francis for a statement but has not received one yet.