JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s (UMMC) contract with Blue Cross & Blue Shield (BCBS) of Mississippi ended at midnight on Thursday, March 31.

UMMC officials stated that BCBS refused to to bring the medical center’s reimbursement closer to fair market rates. They claimed BCBS has underpaid UMMC by “tens of millions of dollars” for years.

According to hospital officials, this decision forces all of UMMC’s hospitals, clinics, physicians and other providers statewide from BCBS’s network. It also affects members of Blue cross commercial plans from other states and those on a Blue Cross federal plan.

UMMC has treated more than 50,000 patients with Blue Cross commercial health insurance plans in the past 18 months.

Patients receiving emergency care will continue to receive in-network rates. Patients currently receiving care or treatment for a specific, ongoing medical condition will continue to have in-network coverage for a 90-day period, ending on July 1, 2022.

UMMC is still in-network for patients with the Mississippi State and School Employees Health Plan.

“We are disappointed that Blue Cross doesn’t value the Medical Center enough to agree to a fair contract and keep us in its network. We know that patients are disheartened and frustrated,” said Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs Dr. LouAnn Woodward.

UMMC is the only hospital in Mississippi with a Level I trauma center, only children’s hospital, only organ and tissue transplant program and only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit.

“The biggest impact of us going out of network is access to care that only UMMC provides to patients in the state of Mississippi,” said Dr. Woodward.

Patients can call (601)-496-0008 for questions.

BCBS released the following statement to WJTV 12 News:

Unreasonable demands by UMMC for increased payments, along with their unwillingness to agree to Network Hospital quality requirements, are not in the best interest of our Members and Groups as we seek to provide access to quality, cost-effective healthcare. Our primary goal remains our Members’ health.

Cayla Mangrum
Manager, Corporate Communications for Blue Cross & Blue Shield