East End hospitals strike a deal with Oxford insurance

The contract between the three East End hospitals and Oxford/United Healthcare was renewed at midnight on Sept. 14, just as it was about to expire.

Roughly 3,000 local school employees insured through United Healthcare’s East End Health Plan had been without coverage at the hospitals since July 15.  Another 12,000 Oxford/United participants were due to be out of network as of Sept. 15.

While out of network, cardholders were eligible for emergency room and maternity care services, but needed to go to in-network hospitals farther west for surgical and other services.

Eastern Long Island Hospital President and CEO Paul Conner said Thursday morning that the contract was signed “at the stroke of midnight, literally.  We were a little anxious, but hopeful. At the end of the day it all came together. We’re happy to see that the East End Health Plan, which is administered by Oxford, is back in network, two months to the day after they went out.”

The three hospitals now negotiate with health insurance companies as a single entity, known as the East End Health Alliance (EEHA.) The group was formed, in part, to offer the facilities better leverage in dealing with larger insurance corporations.

Mr. Conner, the alliance’s spokesman, said details of the new contract will be made public later this afternoon. He added that there will be no major changes to the hospital coverage Oxford/United participants receive.