A dispute between Blue Shield, a health insurance provider in California, and Sutter Health network of hospitals and doctors has surfaced in California. The dispute has put several thousand citizens of California vulnerable to losses. According to reports, 280,000 consumers, based out of Northern and Central California, are facing a threat to find themselves a new place for getting health care.

Recent disputes between Blue Shield and Sutter network of health care professionals have taken a toll on the customers of Blue Shield. Reports cite that the numbers are in thousands. Blue Shield has already urged as many as 139,000 of its customers to leave the Sutter Health network. The health care insurer sent out notifications to customers earlier in the week. It also expects to release a similar notice to another set of 140,000 of its customers. The company plans to do so by the end of the month. In addition, Blue Shield has threatened that if customers seek to continue with the Sutter Health network, they will be charged higher rates, in case an agreement is not made.

The dispute stems from a contractual agreement between Sutter and Blue Shield. On the one hand, Sutter claims that the last contract between the two expired in December last year. And now, Blue Shield is proposing a huge cutdown in the payments to Sutter. The network’s spokesman Bill Gleeson explained that the substantial payment cut down demanded by Blue Shield would hamper the quality of services expected by the network’s patients.

On its part, Blue Shield argued that the Sutter network charges almost 18% to 30% higher than the rates of other service providers. The company’s CEO and President, Paul Markovich, said that the company is not favor of continuing to pay such high rates. He further added that the some of the company’s customers would have to change their health care provider by April and others by June.

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