Frequently Asked Questions
For many months, Dignity Health has been negotiating with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) in good faith to protect patients’ access to our physicians and services and establish a fair and balanced agreement that will allow us to meet our region’s health care needs today and in the future.
Despite our best efforts, BCBSAZ is still unwilling to accept responsible contract terms that would put patients first and protect patient access and choice now and in the future. Beginning February 1, 2024, Dignity Health services and providers in Maricopa and Pinal Counties are no longer considered part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) network for most BCBSAZ members.
We do not underestimate our responsibility as one of the region’s highest-quality health care organizations to provide life-saving care today and in the future. That’s why we offered BCBSAZ several proposals during the negotiation period, in hopes of reaching a responsible agreement. We also offered to extend the agreement period an additional two weeks, but to our disappointment, BCBSAZ rejected our extension offer, causing the existing agreement to terminate effective Feb. 1.
Although our contract with BCBSAZ has termed, we are continuing to work in the best interests of our patients in hopes of promptly reaching a new agreement with BCBSAZ.
Why did Dignity Health choose to leave the BCBSAZ network?
Leaving the BCBSAZ network was never our intent. For months we have been diligently working to re-negotiate a new and responsible contract with BCBSAZ in a timely manner.
A new contract must be made jointly between both Dignity Health and BCBSAZ. BCBSAZ explicitly refused to agree to an extension of the existing agreement in order to resolve our differences, which led to expiration of the contract. Additionally, they did not formally notify Dignity Health of their decision to remove us from the network.
Will I still be able to receive care at Dignity Health facilities in Maricopa and Pinal Counties?
Patients with BCBSAZ health insurance may still be able to access care, but some patients’ insurance coverage may be considered out-of-network, resulting in additional financial responsibility.
Patients undergoing current courses of treatment may qualify for continuity of care benefits on an in-network basis. However, BCBSAZ will consider Dignity Health facilities, medical teams and services in Maricopa and Pinal Counties out-of-network for non-emergency services (unless BCBSAZ approves the member’s request for continuity of care).
To access BCBSAZ’s continuity of care form, please visit www.azblue.com/provider/resources/forms, and select Care Management Referral. Please speak with your physician’s office to have them help you complete and submit the form. If you have any questions about eligibility, and/or completing or submitting the form, please call BCBSAZ using the Member Service number on the back of your BCBSAZ identification card.
Emergency care for emergent medical matters in our emergency departments will still be considered in-network for patients. Treatment at Dignity Health urgent care centers will generally be considered out-of-network.
Why has Dignity Health been working on a new agreement with BCBSAZ?
Health care organizations regularly meet with insurers to reach new contract agreements. Our two-year agreement with BCBSAZ, which termed on February 1, 2024, involves negotiating new rates. We are working in the best interests of the patients we serve to protect access and choice for essential services.
Why is Dignity Health no longer considered part of BCBSAZ’s network?
Fair and balanced agreements ensure patients have local access to high-quality health care from Dignity Health for years to come. To protect your access to care, Dignity Health offered BCBSAZ several proposals, none of which were accepted by BCBSAZ. Thus, they have been unwilling to agree to a new and responsible contract that would put patients first.
What is Dignity Health doing to protect patients?
We are doing everything we can to protect patient access to the doctors, nurses and services they know and trust. We will continue working with BCBSAZ in good faith to reach a new agreement that will put patients first and allow us to continue providing the medical services our communities need.
Does this contract negotiation affect patients who receive services from Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center?
No, this specific contract negotiation only affects Dignity Health services provided in Maricopa and Pinal Counties. BCBSAZ members who receive services from Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center are not affected.
I am a patient of Barrow Neurological Institute. Will my insurance be impacted?
Patients of Barrow Neurological Institute will be impacted, as the institute is part of Dignity Health and does not have a separate BCBSAZ contract. Patients at Barrow Brain and Spine – a private neurosurgical group – will not be affected and will still be able to see their surgeon. These patients may, however, be considered out of network for any Dignity Health hospital services received.
What can patients do to protect access to care?
Patients can take action today to protect their healthcare access and choice:
- Call BCBSAZ at the number on the back of your insurance card and urge them to work with Dignity Health providers in Maricopa and Pinal Counties on a new agreement.
- Talk to your employer’s human resources or benefits team and urge them to contact BCBSAZ.
- Call Dignity Health at 877-264-3264 with questions about your health care coverage.
Are BlueCard plans impacted by the contract termination?
BlueCard plans are impacted by the termination and will be considered out-of-network, with the exception of Dignity Health employees.
Can I have my elective surgery performed at another facility?
In addition to continuing our negotiation efforts with BCBSAZ, we are also working on creative solutions that allow patients to maintain their existing appointments and avoid disruptions to their care. Patients who have elective procedures already scheduled, may be able to maintain those, but they could be moved to a USPI location (which will be considered in-network). To learn more, patients should contact their provider’s office.
Have a question that’s not answered here?
NOTE: Please do not include personal medical information. If you have questions about your individual health plan or your medical care, please contact BCBSAZ at the number on the back of your insurance card or call Dignity Health at 877-264-3264.