SOUTHAVEN, Miss — As the battle between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST) and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare continues, many are turning to other options. But some say their options are few.
Southaven couple Tony and Connie Mah and their family say they have been waiting in limbo as contract negotiations drag on between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.
Tony and Connie are Blue Cross, Blue Shield Mississippi members and received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield Mississippi stating that they would “no longer be a member of the Advanced Health Systems, Inc.”
“We were just this month supposed to get on the kidney list, transplant list and now he’s not on any list," Tony Mah's wife, Connie, said.
Tony was diagnosed with acute kidney failure also known as renal failure, two years ago and he’s been receiving treatment at Methodist ever since.
“We would have to move," Connie said. "The closest place would be Jackson, Mississippi because he would have to get the remainder of his life care in Jackson and that’s not doable; transportation-wise. We would have to get a hotel, we would have to get a hotel, we would have to pay for food.”
Until now they avoided much out-of-pocket cost. But that began when they received a letter in late December stating Tony's only source of care would “no longer be a member of the Advanced Health Systems, Inc.”
“All insurance should help and especially the ones that we’ve been with for a long period," Tony said. "And just to cut off something like this, it affects a lot of people, a lot of families and I don’t feel that’s kind of fair to us."
While Methodist Le Bonheur and BCBST continue to negotiate patients and patients' families like Tony and Connie Mah, who are Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Mississippi members, wonder if the insurance company is truly working for their best interest.
“Let Blue Cross, Blue Shield know they work for us, we don’t work for them,” Connie said. “It’s probably just business for them because they’re not the ones who are suffering who are going day to day going, 'is this my last day?'”
The Mah family says they’ve applied for a 90-day extension but that isn't sufficient.
“Ninety days doesn’t help us he’s in stage five renal failure and they’re playing with his life and our lives," Connie said. “It’s my partner and his life and our life that you’re messing with. Please sign that contract.”
The extension the Mah family is waiting for is offered, but on a case-by-case basis. In a statement to ABC24, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare says, for those in the state of Tennessee, they “encourage other employers and their respective employees to reach out to BCBST to request the same special exemption.”