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November 10, 2023

Trinity Health, Cigna in contract negotiations as deadline looms

CT Mirror St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford.

Patients could see an impact come January if Trinity Health Of New England and health insurance provider Cigna fail to reach a new contract.

Trinity Health Of New England includes St. Francis Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital, Johnson Memorial Hospital, and Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital.

On its website, Trinity indicated it is currently negotiating with Cigna for an agreement that “more adequately covers the care we provide to our patients in Connecticut with Cigna commercial health plans.”

Trinity noted that periodic negotiations between health systems and insurance companies are a routine part of doing business. However, those negotiations have gotten more contentious in recent years, as healthcare organizations face rising costs and health insurers face pressure to rein in premium increases. 

“We are working in good faith to reach a new agreement before our contract expires,” Trinity indicated, on its website.

The current contract ends Jan. 1, 2024 for St. Francis Hospital, Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, and Trinity Health Of New England Medical Group providers in Connecticut, and May 1, 2024 for St. Mary’s Hospital and Johnson Memorial Hospital. 

After those dates, if no agreement is reached, patients with Cigna health insurance plans could no longer have in-network access to Trinity Health Of New England hospitals, facilities or providers. This could result in having to pay more out-of-pocket costs for care, Trinity Health said.

Until those dates, Trinity remains in-network, with no change for Cigna-insured patients.

In an emailed statement Friday, Trinity said it is “committed to working with Cigna to reach a fair agreement that covers the high-quality care we provide to our patients in Connecticut who have Cigna commercial and Medicare Advantage plans.”

According to Trinity, as a not-for-profit health system, it has to contend with rising supply and labor costs. 

Trinity Health Of New England reported a $46 million loss from operations in fiscal 2022 vs. a $34.7 million surplus a year earlier, according to the Office of Health Strategy. 

“We are doing our best to adapt and innovate, but we rely on fair reimbursement to keep our doors open,” Trinity’s email said. “Without it, we cannot provide the care and services patients depend on and need.” 

Trinity asserted that Cigna to date has not offered a contract that “puts patients’ health over their own wealth.” Trinity noted how Cigna has had consistent profit margins.

Bloomfield-based Cigna Group saw $180.5 billion in revenue in 2022, a 3.7% increase compared to the prior year.

A spokesperson for Cigna said via email Friday that it will continue to negotiate with Trinity in good faith to reach a fair agreement.

“We believe we have a shared responsibility to keep healthcare affordable, but Trinity continues to seek an unreasonable increase that is more than four times higher than the state of Connecticut’s cost growth benchmark, which seeks to limit the rate of growth for healthcare spending,” the statement said. “This increase will make health care unaffordable for local companies, their employees and their families, who directly pay the bills.”

If Trinity Health leaves its network, Cigna said it will work with customers to help them find in-network providers nearby.

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