State treasurer dropping push for more hospitals to accept changes to State Health Plan

EASTERN CAROLINA, NC (WITN) North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell is dropping efforts to bring on board dozens of additional hospitals, like Vidant Health, to a new payment model for state employees.

Those changes had been opposed by Vidant Health and many other large health care systems across the state.

Folwell says that the 725,000 participants in the state employee insurance health plan will still receive in-network hospital coverage through the current provider network offered through Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

But they'll also have similar preferred benefits with providers who agreed to the new pricing model Folwell pushed for the past year. He says that model would lead to lower and more transparent plan expenses.

A second deadline passed this week with only five hospitals agreeing to the new model. Time was running out to act with fall open enrollment approaching.

Vidant Health, and other hospital systems, including Atrium, Novant and UNC Health, had refused to sign on to Folwell's initial proposal.

Vidant CEO Dr. Michael Waldrum said North Carolina hospitals would have seen a $400 million annual reduction in reimbursements. Vidant Health alone would lose $40 million, he said.

As late as today, the State Employees Association of North Carolina was continuing to encourage members to tell the hospitals where they receive treatment to sign the agreement