Tufts To Discontinue Blue Cross Coverage

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A dispute between Tufts Medical Center and Blue Cross Blue Shield means thousands of Tufts patients may soon have to change either their health insurer or their doctor.

Tufts says it will stop accepting Blue Cross HMO coverage for some Tufts doctors because Blue Cross pays Tufts 20 to 40 percent less than other major teaching hospitals.

Tufts' CEO Ellen Zane say Tufts has lost $25 million treating Blue Cross patients in the last five years.

"They've developed a $one billion dollar profit in that last several years and we believe it's time for them to look in the mirror and remember that patients are cared for by providers, not by blue cross," says Zane.

But Blue Cross spokesman Jay McQuaide contends Tufts is asking to be paid more than other hospitals.

"Tufts doctors have demanded a pay increase three times the rate of inflation and that is simply not possible when the cost of health care is the issue for our customers," says McQuiade.

The current deal between Tufts and Blue Cross ends February 1.

This program aired on January 6, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.