East End Health Alliance reaches agreement with Aetna

The East End Health Alliance has reached an agreement with Aetna Health Insurance on medical procedure reimbursements that avoids the alliance’s three area hospitals going out of network with the insurance company as of midnight, Monday, Feb. 28.
Patients with Aetna insurance plans were recently informed by letter they wouldn’t be covered for any emergency services at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead or Southampton Hospital as of midnight Feb. 28.

Details of the settlement won’t be available until late this week, but health alliance president and CEO Paul Connor III said a verbal agreement has been reached. Although the insurance will continue to be accepted at the hospitals, it will take a few days to read through the contract to be sure the verbal agreements are appropriately reflected, he said.

The impasse revived memories of the contractual dispute between the hospitals and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield in 2009 when many Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield customers found themselves out of network with the three local hospitals for eight months before a new contract was signed.

The alliance is currently engaged in similar contract talks with Emblem, GHI and HIP. Mr. Connor said he expressed hope that an agreement can be reached with those companies to avoid inconveniencing patients.