Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Blue Cross Blue Shield cut PPO ties

- Almost 100,000 people will lose their health care coverage when Blue Cross Blue Shield Texas and Kelsey-Seybold Clinic end their contract on Oct. 1. Anyone insured with an HMO plan will not be affected but patients with PPO plans will.

Patients will need to find alternative plans if they choose to stay with their current primary care physicians and that will come with a hefty price tag.

The decision came in a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield on July 1 and has had an immediate affect on patients. 

"I'll have to pay $2,000 more if I want to stay with my current doctor," says Jamie McDougal, a mother of two children. She tells FOX 26 News that she was diagnosed with cervical cancer a few years ago.

McDougal adds that her OB-GYN at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic was instrumental with her care and the thought of replacing him is upsetting.

A spokesperson for Kelsey-Seybold Clinic released the following prepared statement on Friday:

We were negotiating with Blue Cross Blue Shield and asked them to extend the termination effective date to December 2017 to give our patients the time they needed to transition to new physicians, but in the end they decided to maintain their right to terminate the contract with an effective date of Oct. 1, 2016. Patients who are undergoing active treatment for chronic conditions or illnesses may be approved for Transition of Care Coverage. These decisions are made by Blue Cross Blue Shield.  Additionally, we are offering a 40% discount to patients who wish to continue to come to us for care using their out-of-network benefits.

Dr. Vivian Ho, a health economics professor at Rice University, says the Affordable Care Act has helped keep medical costs low and without it, they may have skyrocketed much sooner.

For the families affected by this contract termination who only have three months to find a new medical provider or carry the burden of mounting costs, this news is troubling.

For more information about the service change, visit http://www.kelsey-seybold.com/insurance/bcbs/documents/bcbs%20dr%20berthelsen_july%202016%20web.pdf.

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