Mississippi lawmakers hear about BlueCross-HMA dispute

Mississippi Rep. Gary Chism
Mississippi Rep. Gary Chism

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — Mississippi lawmakers say they hope the state’s second-largest hospital company and largest health insurer will resolve a financial dispute before patients lose care or facilities close.

Health Management Associates, a Florida-based company that owns 10 Mississippi hospitals, sued Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi in June, saying that the insurance company broke contract terms by underpaying for procedures. Blue Cross says HMA overcharges.

Since Sept. 1, the HMA hospitals have been out-of-network for Blue Cross, meaning patients eventually could face higher out-of-pocket expenses.

Representatives of the two companies addressed the state House and Senate insurance committees Monday at the Capitol.

House Insurance Committee Chairman Gary Chism says if the dispute isn’t resolved by January, legislators might need to consider a bill that would essentially eliminate insurance networks for hospitals.