East End hospitals accepting most healthcare exchange plans

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Peconic Bay Medical Center on Route 58.
Peconic Bay Medical Center on Route 58. (File photo by Barbaraellen Koch photo)

East End hospitals are now accepting six out of eight insurance plans offered to Suffolk County residents through the state’s healthcare exchange marketplace, according to hospital officials.

The hospitals — Eastern Long Island Hospital, Peconic Bay Medical Center, and Southampton Hospital — are accepting EmblemHealth, Empire Blue Cross, Oscar, United Healthcare and Affinity insurances, as well as Health Republic, a nonprofit alternative health plan, Paul Connor, chair of the East End Health Alliance, said Wednesday.

He said the group is also in negotiations with Fidelis Care and North Shore-LIJ CareConnect. Those two insurances are the other options offered on the state’s online health plan marketplace.

PBMC officials said both EmblemHealth and Health Republic are the most popular choices among patients taking part in the exchange.

Zita Harris, director of patient access for PBMC Health, said the hospital has not yet experienced issues with patients who have purchased exchange options not accepted by the hospital. However, she said, some patients have had issues with receiving their insurance cards from Health Republic.

“As long as they have an ID number, we can confirm coverage,” Ms. Harris said.

Before purchasing a plan on the exchange, Ms. Harris said it’s important for patients to make sure their primary care provider accepts the insurance.

Stony Brook University Medical Center, the closest university hospital to area residents, is currently not accepting any of the insurances offered through the exchange, according to Newsday. The hospital is currently in negotiations with some of those insurance companies, the report states.

Stony Brook officials did not comment on which six insurance options they were considering, however.

About 410,000 state residents have enrolled in the marketplace and nearly 700,000 have completed applications, according to the NY State of Health’s website.

Since the program started on Jan. 1, Mr. Connor said it’s too early to tell what kind of impact the exchange has made on Long Island.

For those interested in purchasing insurance on the exchange, applications must be submitted by 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15., for coverage to begin on March 1, according to the exchange website.

PBMC patients with insurance exchange questions can call (631) 548-6931 Monday through Friday.

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