Chaney Calls For Regulation Amid Hospital-Insurer Dispute

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi insurance commissioner says lawmakers should consider more regulation on insurance network procedures as a dispute continues between the state's largest insurance provider and largest hospital.

Commissioner Mike Chaney spoke to the state House and Senate insurance committees Monday, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.

Since April, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi has been out of network with the University of Mississippi Medical Center, leaving thousands of consumers in limbo.

Chaney, a Republican, proposed that lawmakers stop network contracts between insurance companies and health care providers from being canceled outside of a 90-day window before an open enrollment period.

Open enrollment for health care coverage begins in November.

Disagreements over reimbursement rates and Blue Cross’ quality care plan led to the dissolution of the contract between the insurer and Mississippi's only academic medical center.

“Everything in life is about money, power and sex,” Chaney said. “This is about money.”

Blue Cross customers can still seek treatment at UMMC, but they face higher costs since their insurance is out of network. UMMC is the only in-state provider offering certain services such as organ transplants.

A UMMC spokesperson declined to comment on the proposal. Blue Cross did not immediately respond to the Daily Journal's request for comment.