Northeast Georgia Health Systems says it will continue to treat patients with Anthem insurance as though they are in-network through the end of the year, but it is encouraging people to choose a new insurance provider next month during open enrollment.
“The community should continue relying on NGHS for their care, as they always have,” Steve McNeilly, vice president of managed care, said. “We are committed to treating patients as though they are in-network until December 31, so patients have time to choose another insurance carrier during open enrollment.”
Patients with Anthem, formerly Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, have been out-of-network with Northeast Georgia Health Systems since the end of September, when the current agreement between the two sides ended. The two sides have not negotiated since two days before the agreement ended, McNeilly said.
“Anthem stopped communicating with us two days before forcing this out-of-network situation,” McNeilly said. “Our expectation is that Anthem will return to the table in good faith to end the disruption caused to their members.”
McNeilly said the health system has requested a modest, single-digit rate increase for payments received from Anthem, an increase that is in line with what other major insurance companies have agreed, too. But he said Anthem continues to demand several things that would cost patients money and limit access to health care.
“Anthem wants the ability to change our contract at any time, without notice, which would allow them to tell you where to go for care – taking the decision out of your and your physicians’ hands,” McNeilly said. “And Anthem is refusing to add any future locations to our contract without a separate negotiation, which slows down our ability to provide new services or expand your access to care.”
Patients with Anthem insurance can call NGHS’s Patient Access Service Center at 770-219-7678 to get a personalized estimate of hospital charges for upcoming surgeries or procedures. Patients who have questions about charges for physician office visits should call their physician’s office for more information.
Patients can also visit www.nghs.com/anthem for updates, answers to many frequently asked questions and more. A complete list of in-network insurance plans is available at www.nghs.com/insurance.