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Community Hospital Group Contract Expires With Major Health Plan Insurer
Date:4/1/2010

nce conglomerates to join with the hospitals and healthcare community to invest in our healthcare system and not just bleed the system to gain record profits for their investors."    

Nizza said Stellaris Hospitals have not asked Empire for reimbursement increases that are any greater than what they already receive from other insurers in the market. In order to maintain their position in providing high-quality health services, Stellaris Hospitals need an adequate revenue base. In the past six months, Stellaris Hospitals have reached renewal agreements with two national and two regional insurance companies. Empire has stood alone in its refusal to agree to reimbursement rates that are even close to those that other insurance companies in the market are paying.

As hospitals and physicians struggle, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shields' parent company, WellPoint, Inc., continues to report record revenues and profits. For 2009, WellPoint's total revenues were $61 billion with net income of $4.7 billion, nearly double its 2008 results. This is the same WellPoint that was recently criticized by a Congressional committee for raising rates by as much as 39% for individual insurance plans in California. The Congressional committee also rebuked WellPoint for raising rates for subscribers while spending millions on lavish corporate retreats.

"While the insurance conglomerates such as WellPoint raise insurance premiums and provide inadequate reimbursement to providers to maintain their bloated profits for their investors, Stellaris Hospitals have invested over $100 million in the last several years alone for new facilities and state-of-the-art technologies," Nizza said. "Our commitment is to our patients and the communities we serve, not to shareholders or Wall Street analysts. Insurers such as Empire need to recognize that sufficient reimbursement rates are necessary in order to sustain the fiscal well-being of
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