Cigna, Hartford Hospital Parent Company Reach Agreement After Contract Impasse

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 Patients at four hospitals in Greater Hartford who have Cigna Corp. as their health insurer won’t face higher, out-of-network rates starting Oct. 1 as expected in August, according to Cigna.

The Bloomfield health insurer and Hartford HealthCare “have agreed to amend their existing agreement and will work over the next several weeks to complete a new multi-year, value-based contract,” said Cigna spokesman Mark Slitt.

The insurer and hospital system were at an impasse after months of contract negotiations, which has become a common problem between hospitals and insurers as they wrestle with medical costs and customers’ willingness to pay.

Hartford HealthCare sent letters Aug. 9 warning of potentially higher rates that could affect 20,900 Cigna customers who have been patients at any of Hartford HealthCare’s acute care facilities: Hartford Hospital, MidState Medical Center in Meriden, Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain and Southington, and Windham Hospital in Willimantic. The current contract expires Sept. 30.

“We expect no disruption for Cigna customers who want to get care at Hartford Hospital or the other hospitals in the Hartford HealthCare system, including MidState Medical Center in Meriden, The Hospital of Central Connecticut (New Britain Campus and Bradley Campus in Southington) and Windham Hospital in Willimantic,” Slitt wrote via e-mail on Tuesday.

Hartford HealthCare Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey A. Flaks said in a prepared statement, “This new contract will allow our patients to continue to use services at all Hartford HealthCare hospitals and facilities and with all Hartford HealthCare physicians on an in-network basis.”

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by Politico.com, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (businessjournalism.org, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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