I simply cannot deal with the recent letter received from Valley Health.

Valley Health is now dictating what insurance an individual can have.

I spent my career in the federal government. The government, as I know it, supports the fact that we all have a right to choose whatever we want in life. I had little growing up in West Virginia, and little opportunities were available after high school. So I left home at age of 17 for a career in government service.

As part of that government service, I chose Blue Cross/Blue Shield as my insurance, and that insurance provider has been accepted by service providers in all areas of this country — whenever I had an issue — even it was an emergency in Clarksburg, West Virginia; Fair Oaks, Virginia; Denver, Colorado; or in High Point, North Carolina. It did not matter if I was on a return trip from Florida and had an emergency somewhere along the way. My insurance with Blue Cross/Blue Shield was accepted without question, and I was always told how lucky I was to have insurance that was so widely accepted.

Luck had nothing to do with it. I paid for that insurance, and now pay a hefty monthly premium, a premium that is deducted from my government pension.

Now I am told that Valley Health, in the infinite way of controlling all individuals in this area, may not accept Blue Cross. They also recommend that I change my insurance during the upcoming open season for government employees. Just what other insurance will I be able to take?

I cannot take Kaiser Permanente — I would have to go all the way to Falls Church for an emergency visit and with Kaiser's insufficient care of my daughter following her traumatic head injury, I would not under any circumstances take Kaiser as my insurance.

I cannot take AETNA. Valley Health does not accept AETNA.

What choice does that leave me with? United Healthcare? That is totally not reasonable. When I carried Blue Cross and my husband carried United Healthcare, United Healthcare was my secondary. When United Healthcare paid Winchester Medical Center the remainder of one of my stays at WMC after Blue Cross had paid primary, and I had already paid the remaining amount, WMC refunded the overpayment to me only after my WRITTEN request. United Healthcare is also not widely accepted.

At this point, it should not matter at all what insurance my husband and I have. We are seniors, with Medicare as primary. With pricing set by Medicare, Blue Cross pays the remainder in full of the bill we have, and that includes any bills we have had with Valley Health.

And if Valley Health does not accept Blue Cross, then my husband will have to change his personal physician, since that doctor is a part of Winchester Pulmonary, and they are now a part of Valley Health.

To repeat, Medicare sets what Valley Health may charge me. Blue Cross pays the balance. Why is that not sufficient?

Sharon Edmonds lives in Berryville.

(2) comments


Is Valley Health System becoming a monopoly like Carilion did in the Roanoke Valley?



Winchester Medical Center Profits:

2000 $11,917,127

2001 $ 4,262,944

2002 $25,868,766

2003 $35,113,921

2004 $46,711,931

2005 $54,346,679

2006 $57,422,789

2007 $66,617,961

2008 $ 9,500,911

2009 $53,757,390

2010 $53,104,420

2011 $62,029,246

2012 $50,522,325



2015 $71,439,119

2016 $58,416,060


2018 $78,884,579

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