All Children's, United Healthcare reach new deal

A family with an ailing child is caught in the middle as Johns Hopkins hospital and an insurer agree to keep talking.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and United Healthcare have reached a new agreement on insurance coverage, according to a release Thursday.
 
"Johns Hopkins All Children’s and UnitedHealthcare announced today that as they finalize terms of a new agreement, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and its physician providers are back in-network through June 30. Beginning July 1, 2017 a new multi-year agreement will be effective,” said Jonathan Ellen, M.D., president and vice dean of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
 
Previous report:
 
Earlier this week, we introduced you to Jackson Lemon, a 14-year-old dealing with a complex autoimmune disorder that’s so far required four surgeries and frequent trips to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in downtown St. Pete.
 
Doctors say Jackson is likely going to require several more years of care, but recently the Lemon family got word their “in-network” insurance coverage would no longer be honored at the hospital and instead they’d have to travel to comparable facilities in Orlando or Gainesville or face the prospect of paying much more for “out of network” coverage at the hospital making for a stressful situation.
 
“It more than doubles our out-of-pocket expenses, which is a huge burden ... that our family can afford to do,” said Jackson’s mother Krista Lemon.
 
Friday evening, a spokesperson for Johns Hopkins All Children’s confirmed their representatives had reopened negotiations with United, and while no agreement has been reached yet, Jonathan M. Ellen, president of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, did send us a written statement:
 
“With as much fidelity as possible, we are pushing hard to reach a fair agreement. We must continue to speak up. It’s what is necessary and right for our children and families.”
 
Lemon says their kids’ lives are hanging in the balance and they urge both sides to come to an agreement quickly.
 
“Neither one of them may get exactly what they want, but they need to find some common ground to be able to treat their patients,” said Lemon.
 
This decision affects lots of people across the Bay area, companies like Raymond James Financial, Price Waterhouse,  Pinellas County Schools and the city of St. Petersburg all insure their employees through United. 
 
We’ll of course stay on top of the negotiations and keep you updated if and when an agreed-upon plan is reached.
 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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