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Memorial, BlueCross lock horns over rates

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Graphic by Laura McNutt  / Chattanooga Times Free Press. Graphic by Laura McNutt / Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CHATTANOOGA, TN. (Times Free Press) -- Memorial Health Care System's contract with the state's largest health insurer expires in six weeks, and the hospital is asking the public to help in the dispute over reimbursement rates.

Memorial executives say their reimbursement from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee "significantly lags the market," but BlueCross counters that Memorial has asked for a reimbursement increase four times the rate of inflation, as the two sides jockey for advantage in ongoing negotiations.

The nonprofit hospital warns patients on its website that unless an agreement with the insurer is reached by July 31, Memorial and Memorial Hospital Hixson will be considered "out of network," which means patients will have to pay more for many services. The hospital asks on its website that people sign up as a supporter of Memorial as negotiations with BlueCross continue.

"We find ourselves unable to continue to function in this manner, and have requested that they work with us to restore our reimbursement to fair market rates," said Lisa McCluskey, Memorial's vice president of marketing communications in an emailed statement similar to a post on the hospital's website.

Read more on the story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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