ABILENE, Texas -

It's been nearly two weeks since Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas and Hendrick Health Systems failed to reach an agreement on their contract negotiations for reimbursement rate fees.

Now, thousands of Hendrick patients are responsible for paying more because they're now considered out of network.

Nothing has changed in negotiations and no agreement has been reached since Blue Cross says Hendrick asked for a 40 percent increase.  

This was the statement issued by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas's Chief Medical Officer Dan McCoy:

"Taking care of our members in Abilene who have been impacted by Hendrick's decision to no longer accept them as 'in-network' remains our top priority. We are of course disappointed that Hendrick rejected our offer of a fair and reasonable rate increase. Had we agreed to Hendrick's proposal of 40 percent, it would have added millions of dollars to the cost of care for our members in Abilene and across the state. That is simply unacceptable."

Hendrick Health Systems says they need the increase to provide the best care for patients. The health provider issued this statement from President and CEO Tim Lancaster about the situation:

"We are still very disappointed that we were unable to reach an agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas by the June 30 deadline. We continue to work with our patients with Blue Cross insurance to provide them with the care they need. At this time, there is no new progress to report. However, we remain committed to pursuing a relationship with Blue Cross that best meets the healthcare needs of our patients. It is important to remember that patients can continue to access Hendrick services, but might incur higher out-of-pocket costs. For questions about out-of-network benefits, patients should contact Blue Cross directly by calling the number on the back of their insurance cards."

With no progress seemingly on the horizon, we wondered if Abilene Regional Medical Center was seeing an influx of patients who weren't willing to pay the out of network cost at Hendrick. Officials at Abilene Regional Medical Center issued this statement to us regarding the inquiry:

"We continue to be in-network for Blue Cross Blue Shield and have seen an increase in inquiries about Blue Cross and outpatient tests."

KTXS will continue to keep you updated on any progress that's made in the negotiations.