Community Letter

March 29, 2024

Preparing for our contract to end with Regence BlueCross BlueShield 

Friday, March 29, 2024

By Merrin Permut
Vice President & Chief Population Health Officer

Merrin Permut

I want to share an update with you about our negotiations with Regence. I remain committed to providing you with transparent information and wish that I had better news to share with you today. 
When we began setting the expectation with Regence almost one year ago, it was to ensure we had time to negotiate over the following months without impacting our patients. Our ask was, and remains, a fair and equitable reimbursement to partially offset increases in the cost of healthcare labor and supply expenses. Now, with only two days left until we would be forced to leave the Regence network, we are unfortunately not where we need to be to sign a new agreement with Regence. 
Our approach to this negotiation, and with all insurance companies, is to ensure that we are paid equitably to other health care systems in the market and that our reimbursement can keep up with our expenses. This allows us to maintain our vital health care offerings and deliver new services where there is a community need. As we approached our renewal with Regence, unfortunately, we knew that our reimbursement unnecessarily lagged other health systems in the market (based on publicly available information). More importantly, we needed an increase to address the rising costs that we have experienced over the past few years following the pandemic. We believe in working collaboratively with insurance companies to find creative solutions and we always remain willing to find common ground.     
This week, we provided an updated offer to Regence that we hoped would prevent a disruption in our patients’ network of care. We requested reimbursement that would allow us to keep serving Regence patients as in-network providers and would keep their relationships with their existing care teams in place without disruption to care. Regence instead says our request is unrealistic, but we have provided them with real numbers that demonstrate the cost pressures facing Legacy. Also, as we have shared previously, we are not alone in dealing with rising healthcare costs and negative margins. Unfortunately, we are also not alone as other hospitals and health systems have struggled to come to agreement with Regence until the last minute.  
Our reality is that we are a local community-based health system committed to providing the highest level of care for our patients. We have seen rising costs over the past several years and we rely on our partners, like Regence, to carry their fair share of those increases. Regence has a strong financial foundation and in fact, in recent years has accumulated above average profits. They are more than capable of coming to agreement without passing increases along to their customers and members. We are asking for fair and equitable reimbursement in recognition of the vital services Legacy provides. 
Though we are extremely disappointed in the most recent response from Regence, we will remain at the table as we have every day. Unfortunately, given the response from Regence we must continue to plan for Legacy to be out-of-network beginning Monday, April 1. We have tools and resources to help guide your decision making at  

The best thing you can do to understand your insurance coverage and available options for providers, hospitals and clinics after March 31 is to call your insurance company.  
In the event of a contract termination, Legacy does not have authority to make decisions about your insurance coverage. Your insurance company is responsible for deciding your insurance coverage and determining if you qualify for continuity of care. To learn more, please call Regence using the phone number on the back of your member ID card.  
We have heard from many of you about the stress, frustration and fear you are experiencing during an already challenging time. Our providers share your concern and are advocating for your continued access to the care you deserve. Please know Legacy is committed and will continue to keep your needs at the forefront of our discussions, and we hope Regence will do the same.  

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