AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Thousands of state employees are now breathing a sigh of relief as some major medical groups in our area announce they will now accept their state-issued health insurance.
These state employees were unable to find doctors in the panhandle who accepted their new state-issued Blue Cross Blue Shield HealthSelect insurance plan.
Now those people are finally able to get insured medical care through some medical groups.
After months of struggling to find in network doctors who accept the new state insurance, thousands of patients who visit Amarillo Medical Specialists and Amarillo Family Physicians Clinic are able to see their regular doctors again.
This came after rounds of negotiations with Blue Cross, which originally offered doctors reimbursement rates that were deemed too low.
"We were not asking for more money, we were simply asking for what we had been paid before," said Amelia Nelson, Administrator for Amarillo Family Physicians Clinic. "The Blue Cross Blue Shield contract was substantially lower and we felt like we couldn't accept that."
But both offices were able to negotiate with the insurance company.
"We were able to come to an agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield over getting back into network and I would say there was give and take on both sides, but we were able to come to an agreement that I think works for everybody," said Dr. William C. Biggs, Managing Partner for Amarillo Medical Specialists.
Blue Cross told NewsChannel 10 there are several other Amarillo doctors offices that have verbally agreed to join or re-join their healthcare network.
Nelson said their patients made a difference it getting their health coverage back.
"It really was the patients speaking up for themselves so that they would not lose their healthcare provider here in Amarillo," she said. "They were faced with having to go to Lubbock for health care, which is really just not reasonable."
Nelson and Biggs are glad they were able to negotiate with Blue Cross, and hope to retain their patients for years to come.
"I'm sorry that we really had to go through this at all," said Biggs. "But again, this helps our long term sustainability. We want to be here in the long run for our patients and this lets us do that and that's what that was all about."
Biggs said he hopes to have all their doctors back in network by November 1st.