East End Health Alliance, Aetna Sign Contract

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The East End Health Alliance has inked another two-year contract with Aetna, the third-largest health insurer in the region, the alliance announced in a statement issued Friday afternoon.

The contract is retroactive to January 1, 2013, and will expire on January 1, 2015, Paul Connor, an alliance spokesman and CEO of Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, said in a phone interview. Southampton Hospital and Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead are the other two hospitals in the alliance.

The agreement keeps the three alliance hospitals in network for both commercial and Medicare products and also includes the physicians employed at each hospital.

“We’re pleased we didn’t have to have an out-of-network situation, and I think we’re happy to have negotiated in good faith with Aetna,” said Mr. Connor. “We have reached a compromise. It’s not 100 percent of what we wanted or 100 percent of what they wanted, but at the end of the day, we were comfortable enough to say, ‘Yes.’”

The previous contract expired on January 1 of this year, but a contract extension kept the two sides in network until this agreement.

Empire BlueCross BlueShield is the largest health insurer in the region; despite dropping most small-business plans in 2011, it is still the biggest because it has Suffolk County and New York State employees, Mr. Connor said. United Healthcare Oxford is second-largest.

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