LifeWise and Legacy Continue Contract Talks

The hospital system and insurer now have until April 30th to reach an agreement

February 23, 2010 -- Legacy Health System and LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon appear closer to reaching an agreement after being embroiled in a contract dispute for the past three months.
The contract was scheduled to expire on March 31 impacting roughly 6,500 LifeWise members – an estimate based on how many utilized a Legacy hospital in 2009. Had negotiations failed, those members would have had to pay higher out-of-pocket costs or choose a different hospital system in the future.
However, Legacy and LifeWise leaders agreed to extend the contract terms until April 30 while they keep talking in the hopes of reaching an agreement, according to Deana Strunk, communications manager for LifeWise.
“We hope that continued negotiations can lead to agreement on new contract terms,” she said.
In December, Legacy demanded a 9 percent rate increase, which would have given them a 37 percent profit on LifeWise business. But the insurer was only willing to give the hospital system a 6 to 6.5 percent hike similar to agreements reached with other Oregon hospitals, Strunk said.
Legacy earned an estimated profit of more than 31 percent off LifeWise-related business in 2008, information obtained from paid medical claims and financial reports filed publicly with state officials.
Among the 73,000 statewide members of LifeWise, 25,000 live in the five-county region (Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Yamhill and Clark counties).
For more details, check out our previous story by clicking here.
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