On Dec. 1, Mary Washington Healthcare doctors, hospitals, and other facilities will re-enter the Cigna network, ending a six-month break that resulted in increased out-of-network costs—and equally high levels of frustration—for the 15,000 Cigna customers in the Fredericksburg region.
- Announcement: The multi-year agreement was announced by Cigna and the Mary Washington Health Alliance, which includes Mary Washington Hospital, Stafford Hospital, a third emergency room at Lee’s Hill, 40-plus outpatient facilities, and more than 500 physicians.
- Collaboration: “The collaboration we have with Mary Washington puts affordable, predictable, high-quality care in reach for all those we jointly serve and puts the interests of our customers, employer clients, and Virginia taxpayers first,” said Monica Schmude, Cigna Mid-Atlantic market president.
- Contracts: Marketing people at neither company would say how long the new contract lasts or what compromises were made to reach it. The tight-lipped approach is a far cry from this spring when Mary Washington claimed Cigna proposed reducing its payment for hospital services by almost one-third and Cigna said Mary Washington demanded rates and increases that were too high for its clients.
- Disagreement: As a result of the disagreement, the contract between the two parties ended on May 30. Cigna customers have either paid out-of-network prices to continue seeing the same doctors and getting services such as physical therapy and X-rays locally through Mary Washington’s expansive network or they’ve traveled to Culpeper or Charlottesville, Richmond, or Northern Virginia to visit other in-network physicians.
- Negotiation: Ryan McGill, a King George County resident and Fairfax County firefighter, encouraged the two parties to keep negotiating from late spring to early fall. McGill organized a rally in August and continued to check in with Mary Washington Alliance leadership weekly or every other week. He thanked the alliance and Cigna for continuing to work together until a deal was struck.“We’re happy,” he said. “It took longer than what we wanted, but obviously we’re happy with the outcome.”