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Johns Hopkins Medicine, CareFirst reach new contract agreement, reversing planned split

Johns Hopkins Medicine and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield on Wednesday announced an agreement on a new multiyear contract that will keep hundreds of thousands of CareFirst policyholders inside the Hopkins network.

Though few details of the plan were disclosed in the announcement, the agreement was reached after Johns Hopkins Medicine officials had planned to end its contract with CareFirst, saying the insurer reimburses the system at lower rates than other insurers statewide.

A dispute over terms for physician rates and surgery centers in September led to the standoff. Johns Hopkins Medicine claimed that CareFirst reimburses the system at lower rates than other insurers statewide. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine estimates, the cost to provide health care has increased more than 21% in the past decade while CareFirst payments increased by 10%.

The former deal would have made the hospital an out-of-network option for CareFirst patients on Dec. 5.

Theodore L. DeWeese, M.D., interim dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said the hospital had a goal of solidifying a deal with CareFirst before its patients had to make changes to their care or coverage.