Struggling Land of Lincoln Health is dropping University of Chicago Medicine from its network as of March 1.
The move comes after consumers and small businesses already have enrolled in the Chicago-based co-op's plans sold on the Obamacare exchange since Nov. 1.
“I don't think we can point to one thing,” Land of Lincoln Health spokesman Dennis O'Sullivan said when asked why the co-op is nixing the Hyde Park-based academic medical center. “Land of Lincoln is constantly in negotiations with various providers throughout the state.”
The changes affect consumers and small businesses with Land of Lincoln plans, though for small businesses the loss of U of C Medicine won't kick in until their plan is up for renewal.
Land of Lincoln will help enrollees find plans sold by other insurers, O'Sullivan said.
Federally backed Land of Lincoln, created under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, is trying to survive amid big financial losses and competition for patients against bigger insurers with deeper pockets.
Consumers and small businesses have been undergoing drastic changes on the Obamacare exchange since its return a few months ago. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois, the dominant insurer in the state, dropped its popular broad PPO plan in 2015 (nixing several prominent local academic medical centers) in favor of a narrower PPO plan with fewer doctors and hospitals in-network.
Land of Lincoln, which lost $25.8 million in the first six months of 2015, has capped enrollment for small businesses and individuals to help it survive. Academic medical centers are typically more expensive than community hospitals because they treat the sickest patients.
U of C Medicine started telling patients in late December that it would no longer be in the co-op's network, spokeswoman Ashley Heher said. She estimated that a few hundred patients have the plan. They still can see a U of C Medicine doctor, but they will pay a steeper price than if they were in-network.