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Catholic Health defends its campaign

Catholic Health System on Tuesday defended its marketing campaign to let consumers know the Senior Blue HMO Select plan excludes most care at its hospitals – a day after BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York filed a lawsuit accusing it of making false and deceptive statements.

“Catholic Health vigorously defends its right to educate its patients, and those who may seek Catholic Health services in the future, about any insurance products that will limit or exclude Catholic Health’s facilities and services,” the hospital system operator said in a statement.

“Many Western New Yorkers rely on our hospitals and facilities for care, and any decision that impacts their ability to utilize Catholic Health services should be made clear,” the statement said.

The legal dispute stems from BlueCross BlueShield’s exclusion of non-emergency treatment at Catholic Health hospitals from one of its Medicare Advantage plans. Catholic Health’s marketing campaign has included a billboard, radio spots, newspaper advertisements and notices in church bulletins.

BlueCross BlueShield’s objections to the campaign center on Catholic Health’s statements in the marketing campaign that the Medicare Advantage plan “excludes all Catholic Health facilities” when emergency care at system hospitals is covered. BlueCross Blue Shield also said in the lawsuit that care at a Catholic Health facility provided by a primary care physician who accepts its insurance also would be covered.