East End patients could lose health coverage

Empire Blue Cross says contract negotiations with three East End hospitals have broken down, which means thousands of residents could lose coverage for non-emergencies.

The insurer says Greenport, Peconic Bay and Southampton hospitals demanded a 60 percent increase in coverage for some services. Blue Cross says it would have to raise co-payments and premiums to cover the increase.

East End Health Alliance?s Paul Connor says the hospitals? demands are fair and Blue Cross is exploiting Greenport's elderly by threatening the only hospital they can easily get to.

Blue Cross assures it will continue to cover emergency room visits if the contract is allowed to expire July 31.

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