CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee today released examples of proposed HCA health care rates that support the company’s claims in their continuing dispute with HCA over costs.

"The data support what we’ve been saying all along," said Ron Harr, senior vice president for BlueCross. "HCA’s proposed rate request places them 20 percent higher than their peer hospitals, which would cause significant increases in the cost of health care coverage for our members in Tennessee."

The report entitled "Keeping Health Care Affordable" provides examples of common procedure costs for HCA facilities based on their best proposal versus actual costs for non-HCA peer hospitals. In addition, the report provides figures for total dollar payments made to HCA over the last three years.

"What one sees in the report is the significant monetary increase sought by HCA at the expense of our members," Harr said. "With hospitals across the state experiencing the same financial difficulties and challenges, we just can’t understand why HCA’s rates are so out of line."

Contract renewals talks with HCA came to an impasse when both parties could not reach an agreement after months of negotiations. The contract affecting 200,000 BlueCross members and 13 HCA facilities expired at midnight, Dec. 31, 2002. The networks affected by the removal of HCA hospitals are Blue Networks C, P, and S. HCA hospitals do not belong to the company’s Blue Network K. This change does not affect the company’s networks serving TennCare Select, BlueCare, and BlueCross’ Medicare Supplement network.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.