With their previous deal expiring, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia and Tenet Health System reached agreement on a new contract early Wednesday.
The pact means that Texas-based Tenet’s five Georgia hospitals — Atlanta Medical Center, North Fulton Hospital, South Fulton Medical Center, Spalding Regional Medical Center and Sylvan Grove Hospital — will remain in-network facilities for Blue Cross members.
The former contract was due to end Wednesday. If no agreement had been reached, Blue Cross patients would have faced higher co-pays for using those hospitals, along with Tenet outpatient centers and physicians.
The run-up to the contract expiration led to a public dispute, with Tenet urging Blue Cross patients to express their concerns about the impasse, and the insurer saying it wanted to protect its members from high medical costs.
Such contract battles between health systems and insurers typically are resolved at or near the deadline as the previous deal expires.
Both sides said they were pleased about the new multiyear agreement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Alexandra Leopold, a Blue Cross vice president, said in a statement that ‘‘as the state’s largest health benefits provider, we strive to create the best health care value for our customers through a broad network of quality health care providers.”
And Deborah Keel, CEO at North Fulton Hospital, said, ‘‘The outcry from [Blue Cross] patients to have access to North Fulton Hospital and other Tenet facilities reiterated the importance of patient choice when it comes to medical care.”