Macon County employees welcome Mission Health-BCBS agreement

Macon County employees who have Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina are relieved the company has reached a deal with Mission Health. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Mountain hospitals under the Mission Health banner gear up to accept Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina patients again. A deal announced Tuesday takes effect a week from Friday at facilities, including Angel Medical Center in Franklin.

That comes as a relief to Macon County employees who have Blue Cross. During the impasse, many faced uncertainty about their health care, worried about high out-of-network costs and having to travel out of town.

One county employee said he can now schedule knee surgery with his local doctor.

“It's definitely a relief because he already knows my situation and he knows I have a torn ACL and that it needs to be fixed,” said Wesley Hall, a map analyst for the county. “That looks like it may be a go for the future, when, previously, we had kind of dismissed it.”

Kevin Corbin witnessed the Blue Cross-Mission Health impasse from dual angles -- as a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance agent and state representative.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield has about 70 percent market share in these western counties. So, them not having a deal wouldn't be good for Blue Cross, wouldn't be good for Mission and certainly wouldn't be good for the customers,” he said.

As a lawmaker, he talked with both sides.

“I have not seen that final paperwork,” Corbin said.

Corbin said they remained hopeful but knows customers were frustrated, and angry, but they're now happy a deal has been reached.

“Frankly, I don't think most folks cared who was perceived as right and wrong. They just wanted the deal,” he said.

As a result of the impasse, the town of Franklin switched from Blue Cross to insurance with the North Carolina League of Municipalities, which the town plans to stay with despite the new agreement.

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