Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska plans to cut off its arrangement with Catholic Health Initiatives.  This could have major repercussions on people who go to Alegent Health facilities for health care... about half a million of them.

If an agreement isn't reached by the end of August, Blue Cross and Blue Shield members will have to pay out-of-network rates at Alegent facilities.

In a news release, Tom Handke Senior VP of Blue Cross said, “While other providers have worked with us to reduce or hold the line on costs, Alegent Creighton providers, in particular, cost significantly more than others in Omaha—and they continue to ask for annual increases.”

CHI is affiliated with more than 3,000 Omaha-area providers and owns the following hospitals: Alegent Creighton Health in Omaha, Good Samaritan in Kearney, Nebraska Heart Hospital in Lincoln, Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln, Saint Francis Medical Center in Grand Island, and St. Mary's Community Hospital in Nebraska City.