Anthem, Hartford HealthCare Unable To Reach Contract Agreement; Tens Of Thousands To See Medical Costs Spike – Hartford Courant
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield and Hartford HealthCare were unable to reach a last-minute agreement on a new three-year contract Saturday.
“Unfortunately, after months of negotiations — which included multiple offers by Anthem to increase HHC’s reimbursement — HHC will not accept Anthem’s offer,” company spokeswoman Sarah Yeager said in a statement Saturday evening.
Yeager said Anthem was asking Hartford HealthCare to agree to cost-of-living increases that are comparable to other hospitals in the state.
“HHC is demanding three years of consecutive rate increases that are two to three times the rate of inflation each year,” Yeager said. “That is not acceptable to us and not acceptable or fair to our customers and members.”
Hartford HealthCare spokesman Shawn Mawhiney said his company was disappointed in Anthem’s unwillingness to find common ground and negotiate in good faith.
“Hartford HealthCare already has agreements with all major insurers, who understand what being paid for quality health care requires,” Mawhiney said in a release Saturday evening. “Anthem today is paying other providers more than it pays Hartford HealthCare.”
Mawhiney said his company was looking for a fair agreement that allows it to continue as the safety net provider for the state, from primary care and mental health to Life Star, trauma and transplant services.
As a result of the missed deadline, tens of thousands of state patients receiving medical care through the insurance company could see their medical costs increase sharply Sunday.
The increased medical costs are due to Anthem designating those patients receiving treatment from hospitals, ancillary providers and doctors under the expired contract to be considered high-cost, out-of-network services.
When hospitals and other health care providers and facilities are classified as out-of-network, consumers are forced to pay higher out-of-pocket costs for services at hospitals and other health care facilities.
Affected hospitals include Hartford Hospital, the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain, Midstate Medical Center in Meriden, Backus Hospital in Norwich, Windham Hospital in Willimantic and the Institute of Living, a Hartford-based facility that treats mental illness and other health conditions.
Yeager said the company will try to ensure a smooth transition for Hartford HealthCare customers who will now be considered out of network by transitioning them to other comparable in-network providers and hospitals in the area and throughout the state who can meet their members’ health care needs.
Yeager said Anthem was “open to continuing dialogue with Hartford HealthCare in order to reach an agreement for our members.”
Mawhiney said Hartford HealthCare was also willing to continue discussions with Anthem to reach an agreement and prevent further disruptions to the people and communities it serves.