Healthcare Contract Expires 500K Residents

At least 500,000 Georgia residents are without healthcare for the foreseeable future. The state’s largest healthcare insurer and one of its main healthcare provider groups are currently without a healthcare contract.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, part of Anthem, saw its contract with Piedmont Healthcare expire over the weekend. The companies were unable to strike a new deal, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without insurance.

These people will now have to pay out-of-pocket costs should they need to see their current doctor. It is possible that some ongoing care recipients will have grandfathered in prices, but any new patients are in trouble.

They will face the decision of paying high amounts for a familiar doctor or seeking different, cheaper healthcare options.
The health care contract between the two companies expired on Saturday, March 31, at midnight. Sources say that negotiations were ongoing until the deal expired.

Blue Cross and Piedmont struggle to find a common ground for healthcare contract

Piedmont’s chief consumer officer, Matt Gove says negotiations will continue until they reach a new deal. He also explained that 72 hours of intense back-and-forth fell apart just before the deadline.

“Unfortunately, as we reached the deadline, Anthem decided instead of building on the progress we thought we had been making, they reverted to a 5-day-old unacceptable proposal they sent us early last week and said ‘that’s our offer,’” Gove said.

However, an Anthem spokesperson gave an opposing view shortly after.Colin Manning issued an apology to consumers for disrupting their coverage. Also, Manning said they are working hard to find a new contract to bring Piedmont back.

Several different issues could be at the heart of the companies’ disagreement. For example, Blue Cross is refusing to pay for some tests. They say some CAT scans and MRIs are cheaper to do outside of hospitals.

Piedmont Healthcare also said compensation for doctors through Blue Cross is too low. Funding of emergency room visits is an issue as well.

No timetable is available for a new healthcare contract. However, for over 500,000 Georgia residents, it can’t come soon enough.