Two healthcare giants have found common ground. Friday evening, BayCare Health System and UnitedHealthcare announced they have reached an agreement.
For months, the contract dispute has meant that customers of UnitedHealthcare had to pay more, to visit doctors in the Baycare network of hospitals and doctors. The new agreement provides in-network access to those services immediately.
In addition, UnitedHealthcare members who received care at one of BayCare's 11 hospitals on or after November 26 will be considered in-network.
In a news release, BayCare president and CEO Stephen Mason said, "We heard from our community about how important it is to continue receiving care from BayCare. We worked hard to reach resolution, and we are pleased with the outcome."
St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster and Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualitieri had threatened to find new a insurance carrier for thousands of their employees during the dispute. Several BayCare patients told New Channel 8 they planned to delay medical procedures or find a new healthcare insurer.
The new contract is good for five years. Financial details of the deal were not released Friday.
"The new agreement strikes the right balance between fair reimbursements and keeping health care affordable for Tampa Bay area residents," said Mason.
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