Anthem, Hartford HealthCare contract expires

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield headquarters (file).

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A midnight deadline has come and gone, so that means tens of thousands of people with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield are no longer in the network for five hospitals, including Hartford Hospital.

Hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents are in health insurance coverage limbo. It means hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay higher co-pays for everything.

The dispute between the state’s largest health insurance provider Wallingford based Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and the state’s largest healthcare network anchored by Hartford Hospital means policy holders will have to pay much higher, out-of-network, prices for their health care.

The decision affects:

  • Hartford Hospital (including The Institute of Living and Jefferson House)
  • The Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain
  • MidState Medical Center in Meriden
  • William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich
  • Windham Hospital

“Emergency care is still going to be covered at any of these hospitals as ‘in-network’ and if you are scheduled for surgery, had been before, or follow up care before or after October 1st, that will still be covered,” said Connecticut’s Deputy Insurance Commissioner Anne Melissa Dowling.

Hartford HealthCare and Anthem broke off negotiations Tuesday night putting policy holders for other treatment in limbo as of Wednesday.

In a statement Hartford Healthcare spokeswoman Rebecca Stewart said; “We remain open to discussions with Anthem to resolve this impasse.”

Anthem spokesperson Sarah Yeager saying they will work to transition policy holders to in-network facilities like St Francis in Hartford, Yale-New Haven, and Western Connecticut Health Network. But thousands more Connecticut residents may also be affected because many large companies are self insured but may use Anthem to administer health benefits.

“That affects those people as well, suddenly these people are ‘out of network’ so to us it’s a larger impact than just the ‘insured’ population,” said Vicki Veltri, Connecticut’s Health Care Advocate.

You can get help navigating this from the Health Care advocate at 1-866-466-4446 and the state insurance department at 1-800-203-3447 or www.ct.gov/OHA and www.ct.gov/cid.

If there’s still no agreement a month from now, five more hospitals and medical centers join the list. Both sides say they will keep negotiating.

Here is a statement from Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman about the contract talks:

“We are extremely disappointed that Anthem Health Plans, Inc. and the Hartford Healthcare Corporation have allowed their contract to expire today without negotiating a new one.

“We’re not interested in assigning blame. We want to make sure that everyone in our state has access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. We simply cannot let profit margins stand in the way of that goal.

“Both companies need to return to the table and work out a deal that protects the health of Connecticut residents.”

Below is a statement from Attorney General George Jepsen and Healthcare Advocate Victoria Veltri:

“We are profoundly disappointed that Anthem and Hartford Healthcare have been unable to reach an agreement by deadline, and we are very concerned about the impact that this situation will have on the thousands of Connecticut residents who now find that their hospital provider is no longer in network. We strongly urge the two parties to put the quality and continuity of patient care first and resolve this matter as quickly as possible.”

Jepsen and Veltri said anyone who has problems receiving care should contact Anthem at 203-677-4000. Additional information is available at http://group.anthem.com/HHC

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