TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s a clash between two healthcare giants. Florida Blue and BayCare continue to spar over a new insurance contract.
The dispute means tens of thousands of people in the Tampa Bay area may have to find new doctors by the end of the month.
8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi is looking into who’s to blame.
Florida Blue and BayCare are blaming each other. They’re sending out letters, releasing statements and posting on websites.
Meantime, their patients, our viewers, are left confused, and panicked.
“I have 30 days to go out and change doctors,” said Bob Simons of Hillsborough County.
Simons is a Florida Blue-insured BayCare patient.
He is recovering from two strokes.
Simons says he struggles with his memory, walking and talking.
On Oct. 1, Bob might be dealing with a whole new set of troubles.
“The first thing that went through my mind was panic because I’ve worked so hard to find Dr. Champa at BayCare and she’d taken such good care of me,” said Bob.
“Now I’m in danger of that not happening or having to go out-of-pocket.”
Simons is one of tens of thousands in Tampa Bay who may have to find a new doctor in just days.
Why? His insurer, Florida Blue and his healthcare system, BayCare are in a dispute over costs during contract negotiations.
Each company posting their side online.
Florida Blue says BayCare is asking for a huge increase in the amount they’re paid to care for patients: More than $80 million.
BayCare says they just want to “attract and retain caregivers and invest in new medical technology to improve patient outcomes.”
Both giants claim it’s the other who refuses to come to a fair and reasonable agreement.
“As a lawmaker, can you do anything to fix this?” said Investigator Mahsa Saeidi.
“I can and I will,” said state Rep. Mike Beltran, a Republican representing Hillsborough County.
Many of Beltran’s constituents are impacted, including Simons.
Beltran says he’s already written a letter to both CEOs encouraging them to settle this feud.
Moving forward, he says, lawmakers can block these companies from receiving higher reimbursements from the state.
The legislature can also increase competition by bringing more hospitals and facilities into our area.
“If they don’t do the treatments that my constituents and their patients need, then we will find someone who will,” said Beltran.
“The CEOs are drawing six and seven-figure salaries and my constituents are under the gun on Oct. 1 and they don’t know if they’re getting their care.”
If these companies cannot agree on new healthcare rates, on Oct. 1, BayCare hospitals, labs, doctors and providers will be considered out-of-network.
If you’re a Florida Blue customer with a story to share, contact Mahsa at MSaeidi@WFLA.com