WPCNR WESTCHESTER COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. FROM THE WESTCHESTER COUNTY BOARD OF LEGISLATORS (EDITED) FEBRUARY 7, 2014:
WWestchester Medical Center in Valhalla haS agreed to terms with Empire Blue Cross, one of the insurance companies offering health insurance plans through the New York State health exchange. The decision will allow thousands of Westchester residents on the health insurance plan to utilize the hospital for health services.
Of all the plans being offered on the New York State exchange, Empire Blue Cross is used by the most residents. Six other insurers offer plans to Westchester residents, and Lyndon Williams, Majority Whip of the Westchester County Board of Legislators hopes the Westchester Medical Center will work out financial details with them as well.
Previously, officials at the Westchester Medical Center said that none of the plans on the state health exchange would be honored at the hospital, citing low reimbursements for their decision. The Medical Center was the only hospital in the region not accepting insurance plans offered on the exchange.
“Thankfully, both the Medical Center and Empire Blue Cross were able to work out their differences and move forward with a decision that benefits our residents,” said Lyndon Williams, Majority Whip of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL). “This is a positive step in the right direction, and proves that issues regarding health insurance may be problematic, but can be negotiated and resolved.”
Understanding that many Westchester residents have important questions and concerns regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and health insurance needs, Legislator Williams hosted and moderated a public forum last week at the Mount Vernon Campus of Montefiore Medical Center. The event included representatives from the NY State Department of Health, Montefiore Hospital and the Mount Vernon NAACP.
The press coverage surrounding the status of the Medical Center accepting the ACA plans came about as the result of the forum. Afterwards, Legislator Williams followed up with representatives of Westchester Medical Center in an attempt to ascertain whether the hospital had taken a firm position on the insurance plans offered by New York State on its health exchange.
“It’s important that our residents, with full confidence, be able to use their insurance plans at all of the hospitals in the area,” said Williams. “As I heard last week at the Town Hall meeting, people are dealing with a lot of misinformation about affordable health care and insurance plans. Residents need answers, and they expect that the parties involved with health care and public safety will work together cooperatively for the benefit of us all.”