‘Never thought it would come to this’: Thousands of seniors losing insurance

Medicare Advantage policies are being lost due to a contract dispute between Regence BlueShield and Optum Health Care.

ARLINGTON, Wash – At 74, Jo Ford keeps herself in shape by dancing weekly at the Stilly Senior Center in Arlington, but she is concerned about her current health insurance situation.

“I feel like the rug has been pulled away from us,” she said.

Ford has been an Everett Clinic customer for nearly 50 years.

Last month, she received a letter from her insurance company, Regence BlueShield, stating that the clinic had decided to leave Regence’s network of providers because of a dispute over costs and payments. math increased.

A Regence spokesperson told KING 5 the company is “working with (of) Medicare Advantage members to ensure they get the care they need.”

However, the company confirmed that some Regence Medicare Advantage customers have turned away from the clinics because their coverage is no longer accepted.

“We think we have good coverage,” Ford said. “We never thought it would come to this.”

Ford has been coming to the Everett Clinic for nearly 50 years.

At 74, she must now seek out new insurance, and possibly a new doctor, while delaying care for her husband and herself until June or July.

“It’s frustrating having to make these changes,” she said. “If you make the change one thing. When a big company makes the change for you and ignores you, it’s another.”

Optum Health Care owns both the Everett Clinic and the General Clinic in Seattle.

A spokesperson for the clinic said 4,000 clients were affected by the dispute, adding: “Our priority and focus continues to be on providing quality, affordable care to patients. our people and our community.”

The Everett Clinic emailed a list of Medicare Advantage providers working with Optum Health Care for 2023. They are:

  • Humana Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO & D-SNP,
  • Kaiser Permanente Medicare Advantage HMO
  • Premera Blue Cross Medicare Advantage HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, D-SNP, & I-SNP

For now, Ford is focusing on staying healthy and trying to keep up with the complex dance of the healthcare industry.

“It’s scary. It keeps you up all night,” she said. “At this stage in our lives, why should we look for another provider when we have other things to worry about?”

Optum and Regence continue to negotiate a contract, but at this point no agreement has been reached.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/health/healthcare/seniors-losing-insurance/281-504220d8-64e2-4ccb-9e0f-45e4d3529362 ‘Never thought it would come to this’: Thousands of seniors losing insurance

Edmund DeMarche

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