January 31, 2014 10:29:10 AM
JACKSON -- Insurers would have to accept any medical provider who meets contract terms into their network under a bill moving forward in the Mississippi House.
The measure comes after Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi kicked 10 Community Health Services hospitals formerly owned by Health Management Associates out of its network in 2013.
Proponents say insurers shouldn't be able to deny any hospital, physician or other provider willing to meet an insurer's contract terms and accept its fee schedules.
Formby said the bill wouldn't force any provider to join a health insurance network and wouldn't hurt the ability of insurers to set prices, payment terms or quality standards.
"This puts the patient in charge of his own health care, to be able to use the doctor and hospital of his choice," said House Insurance Committee Chairman Gary Chism, R-Columbus.
Opponents say the bill will force insurers to pay more as more providers join networks, forcing premiums to rise.