Peconic Bay Medical Center and Oxford, a major provider of health insurance to East End residents, have agreed to a one-month contract extension. Beginning May 1, the agreement will save policyholders from a disruption of in-network service at the hospital.
The contract between the Riverhead hospital and Oxford expired March 1, but service continued during a state mandated “cooling-off” period that was to end on April 30. After that time, Oxford policyholders would have had to pay out of pocket for non-emergency care or find a hospital that is included in Oxford’s network. But an Oxford spokesperson announced Friday that both sides agreed to an extension as negotiations continue between the insurance provider and Peconic Bay.
Now, policyholders will continue to be considered in network up until June 1.
Peconic Bay is negotiating a new contract with Oxford under the auspices of the Peconic Health Corporation, which also includes Southampton Hospital and Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport. Hospital officials agreed to the one-month extension because contract negotiations are moving productively, and because they did not want to inconvenience patients, said Paul Connor III, the spokesperson for the Peconic Health Corporation and the president of Eastern Long Island Hospital. He added that he is confident that the Peconic Health Corporation and Oxford will settle on a new contract before the extension expires.