Blue Shield of California is currently in contract negotiations with the University of California Medical Centers. The contract for UC San Diego is subject to termination on July 1, 2012 and the contracts for UC Irvine and UC San Francisco are subject to termination on July 15, 2012.
Both parties are working to come to terms on new contracts. If a contract is not agreed to before the date of termination, then services rendered at the affected UC hospitals or at participating providers will be considered out-of-network. Based on the terms of your medical policy, this may mean that services are denied or covered under the out-of-network schedule.
It is important that affected employers bring these network updates to the attention of their employees so they can consider these pending changes as they plan for future health care services. Note that as we get closer to the pending date of termination, you can expect Blue Shield to provide more information on the availability of a transition of services schedule. Also, note that it is not uncommon for contract negotiations to come down to the wire as public opinion begins to add pressure to the negotiations.
For those covered under Blue Shield this does bring back memories of when their contract negotiations failed with Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (LPCH) in Fall 2011 and LPCH fell outside the network. It took almost two months for a new contract to be signed while LPCH worked with Blue Shield members on adjusting claims during the non-contract period.
Click here to read a direct communication from Blue Shield regarding their negotiations.