Clinics of North Texas in WF will accept new state employee health plan

Clinics of North Texas in WF will accept new state employee health plan

WICHITA FALLS, TX - Thousands who live in Wichita Falls will face a big bump in pay for health insurance, come September 1. That is when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas will take over as the insurance plan for Texas state employees, retirees and their families.

On the Employees Retirement System of Texas' website it says, "With BCBSTX as administrator, HealthSelect of Texas will still be a point-of-service plan, designed especially for State of Texas employees and their families. As a point-of-service plan, it has both in-network and out-of-network benefits. HealthSelect of Texas is not becoming an HMO."

Yet many are calling it an HMO plan, one that only covers care provided by doctors and hospitals inside the HMO network. 

Now at first, there were very few options for people on the plan and no pediatricians, but Clinics of North Texas announced Thursday they will be accepting that plan.

A spokesperson said the acceptance gives people a larger list of doctors to choose from and allows patients to keep their care local.

Phyllis Cowling, the CEO and President of United Regional, said they have been working for four months to become an in-network provider under this new plan, and are confident they will reach an agreement with BCBSTX before September 1.

If they do not, Cowling said services other than emergency will likely be considered out-of-network, resulting in higher out-of-pocket costs.

Kelly Fristoe, a Wichita Falls health insurance underwriter, said only seven local physicians are listed as in-network on that plan.

The six-year contract with BCBSTX will impact around 6,000 state employees in the Wichita Falls area. Including Midwestern State University employees, Texas Department of Transportation employees and those that work at the James V. Allred Unit.

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