Mercy Insurance Coverage Expanded for Some UHC Customers

By Chris Eidson

Published 01/07 2014 09:20PM

Updated 01/07 2014 10:08PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The New Year brings new choices for some health insurance customers in Springfield.

Those on a specific United Healthcare plan who usually go to CoxHealth hospital are now in-network for Mercy.

This was a decision by United Healthcare to open up access for their customers to both hospitals.

This applies to you if you have the Options PPO plan.

The Pediatric Cancer Center at Mercy Hospital is unique to this region.

"We have a large number of pediatric sub-specialities in which we are the only providers here in southwest Missouri," Mercy President Dr. Rob Steele said, "We're excited to allow those patients who have United PPO insurance to come to Mercy."

United Healthcare decided to allow Options PPO patients to choose either CoxHealth or Mercy in Springfield.

Steele said it's a historic move.

"We have not been in-network for United for a very long time, as far as I know, ever," he said.

It's a benefit for those who need Mercy's unique doctors and facilities.

"They haven't been able to access our pediatric sub-specialists but now they can," he said.

One possible downside is that plans like this could become more expensive.

"We do know that historically rates on these types of plans are higher," Benefit Advisor Trevor Croley said.

He said plans like this are common in big cities, but he's not sure how this will impact the Springfield marketplace.

"It's allowing individuals to go to either system. What I'm not sure of is whether you're going to have a greater discount on one or the other," he said.

But Croley said right now most insurance plans are narrowing because of the Affordable Care Act.

So he feels this move of giving patients more options is positive.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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