Insurer Reports Westchester Medical Center Deal

VALHALLA, N.Y. -

Empire Blue Cross says it has signed an agreement with the Westchester Medical Center, a hospital used extensively by Jewish summer camps and by Rockland County’s Jewish community due to its level 1 trauma center, the Journal News reported.

Patients and lawmakers had expressed outrage after the medical center said it could not accept insurance purchased through the state health exchange in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties. CEO Michael Israel said the reimbursements negotiated through the federal Obamacare act are too low to cover the costs of the services it offers as a teaching hospital.

Westchester’s unparalleled trauma center has unfortunately come into frequent use for camps during the summer months. This past summer, there were nearly
half a dozen high profile incidents where campers who nearly drowned while swimming were brought to that hospital, saving their lives.

Westchester had been the only one of 13 acute care hospitals in the three counties not participating in any of the plans offered on the exchange.

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield is the most popular insurance sold on the state exchange, attracting 18 percent of people who enrolled, followed by Health Republic at 16 percent, Fidelis at 14 percent and Emblem at 12 percent.