Sparrow/Blue Cross Blue Shield Conflict Not Unique

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The dispute between Sparrow Hospital and Blue Cross Blue Shield is not unique to Michigan.

A few months ago, a Grand Rapids health care company, Spectrum Healthcare, gave Blue Cross Blue Shield a Sept. 1, 2002 deadline. They requested the insurance company pay 15 percent more for medical services at two hospitals in that area.

According to Spectrum Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield settled with the healthcare company five days before the deadline when Spectrum would have ended its partnership with the insurance company.

While Blue Cross Blue Shield officials said a settlement is not likely to occur before its contract with Sparrow Hospital expires on Dec. 31, both companies said they are working hard to come to an agreement.

Blue Cross Blue Shield representatives said they've offered to increase their payments to Sparrow Hospital, but they said the hospital wants to collect nearly two to three times the amount they have offered.

Sparrow officials say they are seeking a 0-10 percent increase in payments from the insurance company.

Negotiations will continue.